‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ star protests Roman Polanski’s award win

In a time when big Hollywood names like Harvey Weinstein are answering for their crimes, a festival jury can’t expect to hand an award Roman Polanski without some backlash.

After Polanski was announced as Best Director at the French Film Academy’s César Awards, Portrait of a Lady on Fire actress Adèle Haenel immediately rose from her seat and left the auditorium. 

In 1977, Polanski was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl, but left the United States before his sentencing and has not returned since. Haenel herself spoke out in November about alleged abuse at the hands of film director Christophe Ruggia when she was 12.

In a clip of Haenel right after her exit, she sarcastically chants “Bravo la pédophilie” (“Bravo pedophilia”) while continuing to walk away from the event.

Others reportedly joined in the exit, though clips of Haenel quickly went viral. Polanski himself was not present at the César Awards amid ongoing protests against his acknowledgement by a prestigious film institution.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is now in select theaters.

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