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French Directors’ Guild Looks to Suspend Roman Polanski Through Rule Change

Polanski’s ”An Officer and a Spy“ opened in France over the weekend

France’s directors’ guild, the ARP, announced late Monday that it will vote to introduce new rules that would directly concern director Roman Polanski and move for his suspension from the guild.

Polanski’s latest film “An Officer and a Spy,” known in France as “J’Accuse,” opened theatrically this month in the wake of actress and photographer Valentine Monnier accusing Polanski of raping her in 1975 when she was 18 years old. Polanski’s French attorney Hervé Témime told Le Parisien that Polanski strongly denies the allegations and would bring legal action against the publication that ran the accusations.

The rule change would introduce suspension procedures for any member who was put on trial by the courts and the person would be expelled completely if that person is sentenced. It would also exclude sentenced members for offenses of a sexual nature, but if that person was acquitted, they would be fully reinstated following the suspension.

The ARP made clear this would directly impact Polanski, 84, who has been a fugitive from the U.S. since 1978 when he fled to France prior to sentencing in a sexual assault case involving his having drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl. Since then, several other women have come forward to accuse Polanski of raping them when they were children or teenagers under circumstances similar to the 1977 case. In December 2017, the Los Angeles Police Department opened a new investigation into accusations by artist Marianne Barnard that Polanski molested her in 1975. He has consistently denied all accusations.

The ARP made clear that it is not attempting to litigate or tell viewers which films they have the right to see or not to see, but that it supports victims and must take strong action to prevent serious criminal acts.

“An Officer and a Spy” opened in France this weekend to 386,000 tickets across 545 screens, despite calls for boycotts of the film in the country. It was the runner up at the Venice Film Festival and leads the 2019 European Film Awards.