Roman Polanski has been named president of ceremonies for France’s Cesar Awards, a decision that quickly drew protests.
Upon news that the “Rosemary’s Baby” director -- who fled the U.S. in 1977 to avoid sentencing after he pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl -- had been given the honor, a French feminist organization quickly announced plans to protest the Cesar Awards net month.
“We are nauseated,” a statement from d’Osez le Feminisme read. “The appointment of Roman Polanski is an outrageous act to the many victims of rape and sexual assault.”
“The quality of his filmography has little do with the crime he committed, his flight and his refusal to assume his responsibilities,” the statement continued.
French Minister of Women’s Rights Laurence Rossignol seconded the organization’s position, calling Polanski’s appointment “shocking” and saying that it represents “an indifference to the facts.”
But Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay defended the decision. “The case will continue to haunt Roman Polanski the rest of his life,” she said. “But he nevertheless remains a filmmaker of great talent who has since been honored with multiple Cesars. This is what is at issue in the choice made by the Academy.”
The Cesars will be awarded Feb. 24, two days before the Oscars.