French Oscars academy board resigns after Polanksi row

Leadership of'French Oscars resigns amid Polanski controversy

Leadership of'French Oscars resigns amid Polanski controversy

The board which oversees the César Academy, which runs the César Awards, the French equivalent of the Oscars or the BAFTAs, has said that it will resign ahead of this year's ceremony.

Polanski has been a fugitive from the USA for more than four decades after pleading guilty in 1977 to unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Polanski launched his new film in France last year just days after a French actress accused him of having raped her in 1975, when she was 18 years old, during a ski holiday in Gstaad, Switzerland.

"To honor those who made films in 2019, to regain serenity and make the cinema festival a celebration, the board of directors of the (film academy) made a unanimous decision to resign", the French film academy said in a statement.

"This collective decision will allow complete renewal of the board", it added.

A number of French feminist groups have urged Cesar voters to snub Polanski's film, titled "J'accuse" in France, and called for a protest outside the award ceremony, which is to be held in Paris's Salle Pleyel auditorium.

Another group, Osez Le Feminisme, said: 'Imagine what's next. A new voting panel without male self-confidence, opacity and sexism.

The Cesar Academy has said it could not be expected to take "moral positions" when evaluating films.

More than 200 actors, producers, directors and movie personalities had denounced the "dysfunction" at the academy in an open letter on Wednesday.

They also complained that the founding statutes of the Cesars had not changed "for a very long time" and that the academy's almost 5,000 members do not get a vote or a say in its decisions.

Update: Variety reports that while the board of directors has announced their collective resignation, the move will not take hold until after the February 28 ceremony.

Polanski has been wanted in the USA for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl since 1978 and is persona non grata in Hollywood. But Polanski's history came under renewed scrutiny as the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse and harassment grew in response to the allegations against Weinstein, who is on trial for rape and sexual assault in NY.

A year ago a French actress accused him of raping her in 1975 during a ski holiday in Gstaad, Switzerland.

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