- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Activists with the feminist group Femen stormed into France’s official film institute Monday night to protest a ceremony honoring director Roman Polanski.

“No honor for rapists!” the protesters shouted at Polanski, as a larger contingent of demonstrators remained outside Paris’s La Cinémathèque Française denouncing the evening’s festivities, reported Entertainment Weekly.

The protests came days after a new allegation surfaced from artist Marianne Barnard, who alleges Polanski molested her in 1975, two years prior to his rape of Samatha Geimer. 

For her part, Ms. Geimer has gone on the record requesting that authorities drop their pursuit of Polanski, saying essentially the taint on his character from the conviction has been punishment enough.

“I was a young and sexually active teenager,” Ms. Geimer told reporters in June, describing herselfas having been branded at 40 years ago as “a drug-doing Lolita who had cornered him,” Deadline Hollywood reported.

“Now, [Polanski] endures it because everyone is calling him a pedophile, the insults have switched,” she added.

France’s culture minister Francoise Nyssen defended Cinematheque’s honoring Polanski, saying his contributions to the cinematic arts, not his personal character. She would not “condemn a body of work,” Entertainment Weekly reported Ms. Nyssen as saying.

The 84-year-old Polanski, a French citizen by birth, fled the United States in 1978 prior to being formally sentenced in a criminal case involved in the 1977 drug-induced sexual coercion of a then 13-year-old Geimer.

Both France and Poland, where Polanski also holds citizenship, have repeatedly refused to extradite him to California authorities.

Polanski’s conviction and flight from justice have received renewed attention in the wake of the seemingly ever-widening Harvey Weinstein scandal, which saw the prolific movie producer becoming the second-ever person in the history of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to be kicked out of that organization.

Polanski, a 2003 Best Director Oscar winner, has not similarly been sanctioned by the Academy, much to the disgust of critics both in and outside of the industry.

Polanski’s allegations are as bad as Weinstein’s or worse and he should not be in the motion picture academy,” writer and director Judd Apatow tweeted Oct. 29.

“Really good question: Weinstein got the boot so why hasn’t the Academy kicked out Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby?” asked McClatchy Newspapers columnist Andrew Malcolm in an Oct. 20 tweet.

A petition originated by Polanski’s latest accuser, Marianne Barnard, calling on the Academy to do just that has received nearly 20,000 signatures thus far.

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