Roman Polanski was met with a group of protesters when he was honored for his cinematic achievements in France, according to the Guardian.
Polanski, who fled the U.S. decades ago as he was facing sentencing for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl, was honored in Paris on Monday with a retrospective of his films. In 1977, Polanski pleaded guilty to the lesser charge in an agreement that meant the more serious charges be dropped.
A group of topless protesters, men and women, appeared at the ceremony to speak out in opposition of giving the director an honor in light of his history of sexual assault. Multiple women have spoken out over the years of being victimized by the Polish director. Most recently, a former model claimed the he assaulted her during a photo shoot when she was 10 years old.
“If rape is an art form, give Polanski all the Cesars,” the protesters chanted.
As the Guardian reported, Polanski abandoned plans to host the French Cesar awards in January, which are the country’s equivalent to the Oscars, after protesters called for a boycott of the awards.
Polanski remains a wanted man for his statutory rape of 13-year-old Samantha Geiger in 1977, when the Chinatown director was 43 years old. As CrimeOnline previously reported, Geiger has said that she has forgiven the director for allegedly drugging her and raping her.
The protesters reportedly first occupied the Cinémathèque Française film archive, where the ceremony was held, and continued their protest from outside after they were ejected.
The protest comes as the U.S. film industry has been rocked by allegations that powerful film producer Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted dozens of women throughout his career. Alleged victims of several other film industry figures, such as James Toback and Kevin Spaces, have continued to come forward with allegations of abuse and assault.
French culture minister, Françoise Nyssen, defended the retrospective, arguing that it is about Polanski’s work, not his personal history.
“It’s about a body of work, not about a man,” she told the Guardian.
“It’s not for me to condemn a body of work.”
[Feature image: Associated Press]