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Feminists to protest in Paris as Roman Polanski attends tribute (to himself)

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Feminists to protest in Paris as Roman Polanski attends tribute (to himself)
Photo: AFP
14:49 CET+01:00
French feminists will stage a protest in Paris on Monday as film director Roman Polanski, accused of a string of sexual assaults, is expected to attend a retrospective of his work.
The Franco-Polish director, 84, will appear at the prestigious Cinematheque Francaise film archive as debate over sexual abuse rages worldwide following the allegations that toppled Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
   
"What is important for us is that the retrospective be cancelled and that the Cinematheque apologise," Ozez le Feminisme ("Dare to be Feminist") spokeswoman Raphaelle Remy-Leleu told AFP.
   
The group was behind a petition signed by more than 26,000 people to demand the cancellation of the month-long event.
 
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The Cinematheque, which is partly state-funded, has ruled out pulling the event, with its president, Greek-French director Costa-Gavras, saying last week it does not intend to "take the place of the justice system".
   
Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen argued that the retrospective was planned long before the debate unleashed by the Weinstein scandal.
   
"It's about a body of work, not about a man," she said. "It's not for me to condemn a body of work."
 
The director of "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby" is wanted in the United States for statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977, when he was 43.
   
He admitted to the charge after more serious rape charges were dropped, and spent an initial 42 days in jail before being released for good behaviour.
 
In 1978, convinced a judge was going to scrap his plea deal and send him to prison for decades, Polanski fled for France and has been a fugitive from the US justice system ever since, despite repeated attempts to have him extradited.
 
Earlier this month Swiss prosecutors confirmed they were investigating new rape allegations against Polanski made by a woman who said he assaulted her in a resort in the Swiss Alps in 1972.
 
The new claims, which Polanski has denied through his lawyer, bring to at least four the number of women who have publicly accused him of sexual assault.
 
In February, Polanski was to host the Cesar awards -- France's answer to the Oscars -- but pulled out under pressure from feminists.
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