Roman Polański expelled from French film academy

Award-winning film director Roman Polański has been expelled from César, the French film academy, following a fierce controversy over his honorary membership of the organisation.

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The academy, which hands out the prestigious César awards, the French equivalent of the Oscars, also expelled 17 other honorary members.

In 1978, the director fled the US after being charged with the statutory rape of 13-year-old Samantha Geimer and has never returned. Several other women have accused him in recent years of sexual misconduct, all of which he has denied.

Mr Polański’s past has prompted increasingly vocal calls for the film industry to distance itself from the famed director.

In February the entire management board of César resigned following protests, in part, over the nomination of Mr Polański’s film “An Officer and a Spy” for a number of 2020 awards.

The nomination also prompted several women to walk out of the awards ceremony.

Reflecting changing attitudes the academy announced on its website that its management is now equal and democratic, with the general assembly consisting of 164 elected members: 82 men and 82 women.

The changes in the academy’s composition were demanded by feminist activists who had long criticised the body for a lack of parity.

Protests against nomination for Roman Polański to César Academy Award for a film “An Officer and a Spy” in February 2020 in Paris. Photo: PAP/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON