Wednesday 22 May 2019

Polanski's wife rejects offer to join Oscars body just after his expulsion

Actress Emmanuelle Seigner and her husband Roman Polanski. Photo: Reuters
Actress Emmanuelle Seigner and her husband Roman Polanski. Photo: Reuters

Ingrid Mellander

The wife of controversial director Roman Polanski has rejected an invitation to become a member of the awards body behind the Oscars, which expelled him just weeks ago.

French actress Emmanuelle Seigner (52) slammed the "hypocrisy" of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the offer. She is one of 928 artists and executives which the academy last month invited to become members.

Polanski (84), who won the best director Oscar in 2003 for 'The Pianist', admitted in 1977 to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles.

The academy threw him out in May for violating a conduct code it had adopted following hundreds of accusations of sexual harassment or assault in the entertainment industry.

Seigner said in a column published in France's 'Le Journal du Dimanche': "How can I ignore the fact that a few weeks ago the academy expelled my husband, Roman Polanski, in an attempt to appease the zeitgeist - the very same academy which in 2003 awarded him an Oscar for 'The Pianist'! A curious case of amnesia!

"The academy probably thinks I am enough of a spineless, social-climbing actress that I would forget that I have been married for the past 29 years to one of the world's greatest directors," she said, denouncing what she called "insufferable hypocrisy".

Polanski and television star Bill Cosby, who had been members since 1969 and 1996 respectively, are the first members known to have been expelled for violating the academy's new code of conduct.

The entertainment industry is grappling with misconduct allegations that have led to dozens of politicians, businessmen and entertainers stepping down or being dropped from projects, sparking the #MeToo social movement and the Time's Up campaign against workplace harassment and for equal pay.

Seigner, well known in France for movies that included Polanski's 'Based on a True Story' and 'Venus in Fur', said she felt offended by the offer to join the Academy.

Irish Independent

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