Roman Polanski’s Paris screening of An Officer and a Spy was shut down by protestors. Around 40 women showed up and blocked the entrance to the theater on Tuesday night, which led to the shutdown of the screening. The women were all dressed in black and “equipped with red smoke-generating canisters.” In addition, some of the women held large cards with the names of women who have come forward to accuse Polanski of sexual assault.
The demonstration lasted for about an hour in front of the theater and wound down after the screening of An Officer and a Spy was canceled. The official premiere was held on the same evening, but in another location in Paris. The official screening, which Roman Polanski attended, was at the UGC Normandie cinema on the Champs-Elysées. There were no reports of similar protests at the premiere. Polanski has been back in the news after another woman came forward with allegations of sexual assault in the 1970s.
French photographer Valentine Monnier has accused Roman Polanski of raping her at his Swiss chalet in 1975. The director has denied these new allegations through his attorney. Polanski fled the United States in 1978 before sentencing after pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year old girl. Without mentioning Polanski by name, the French film industry association, ARP, released a statement saying it “strongly supports all victims of moral and sexual violence” and that it “must take into account that our professions, by the power they confer, can open the door to reprehensible excesses.”
Roman Polanski is currently a member of the ARP, though that could change in the near future. The ARP’s statement went on to say that a “member found guilty of a sexual offense be excluded and that any member indicted for the same reason be suspended.” No action against the director has taken place as of this writing. Polanski was again accused of sexual abuse in 2010 by the actress Charlotte Lewis, who claimed the director abused her when she was 16 in 1983. Polanski was then accused again in 2017 by another woman, who says he abused her when she was 16, but in 1973.
An Officer and a Spy first debuted at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year where it won the Grand Jury Prize. It also received nominations for four European Film Awards last week. Roman Polanski recently sued the Academy for expelling him. His representation believes he should have been notified well in advance before the expulsion took place. The director’s lawyers also state that Polanski should have been able to talk to the Academy before the decision was made. It doesn’t seem like the Academy is going to back down from their decision at this point in time. The protests in front of the An Officer and a Spy screening was first reported by Deadline.