- French actress Adèle Haenel who last year revealed that as a child she was the victim of sexual harassment from director Christophe Ruggia walked out of the ceremony after child rapist Roman Polanski won Best Director. She was joined by the entire Portrait of a Lady on Fire team including director Céline Sciamma and actress Noémie Merlant who walked out in support.
- Haenel loudly said "Shame. Shame," as she left. As she exited the building she was also captured sarcastically applauding while shouting "Long live pedophilia. Bravo pedophilia."
- Not captured was actress Aïssa Maïga who also walked out of the ceremony and later released a statement saying she walked out and wanted to join the feminist protestors outside the ceremony who were also protesting Polanski's nomination
- Haenel later released a statement talking about how she felt about Polanski winning
- Actor Swann Arlaud also spoke to the media saying that Polanski's win showed things hadn't changed much and said he understood Haenel's anger and why she left
- Actress Fanny Ardant, who won an award, spoke out in support of Polanski
« Vive la pédophilie, Bravo la pédophilie »... Adèle Haenel a laissé éclater sa colère en quittant la cérémonie des César ce soir salle Pleyel, furieuse de la remise de deux César à Roman Polanski pour son film « J’accuse ». Images: @SmithReporter— Paris Match (@ParisMatch) February 29, 2020
—-#césar2020 @adelehaenel pic.twitter.com/qfsRa37P1Y
Longue réaction dans @Mediapart d'Adèle Haenel sur la cérémonie #Cesar2020.— Marine Turchi (@marineturchi) February 29, 2020
« Ils pensent défendre la liberté d’expression, en réalité ils défendent leur monopole de la parole. Ce qu’ils ont fait hier soir, c’est nous renvoyer au silence. » https://t.co/KxIZApvPZO pic.twitter.com/XziHzjIF9l
They think they're defending freedom of expression and in reality they're defending their monopoly on speech. What they did last night is to return us to silence and impose on us the obligation to shut up. They don't want to hear our words. And all speech that doesn't come from their rank that doesn't go their way is considered like it doesn't exist. They turn us into reactionaries and puritains but it's not the spirit of liberty given life in the 70s that we're critiquing but the fact that that revolution wasn't complete, that it had a conservative aspect that, in part, the power was given to the same people. With a new system of legitimacy. In fact we're critiquing the lack of a revolution.
I was first of all a little frozen in place. And then a minute later I wasn't very well, I left. I was frozen, scared, disgusted, on a very personel level, in my gut. I saw Adèle Haenel's reaction, very strong, and honestly I thought of all those women. All those women seeing that man voted in, and I thought, in addition to those women, of all the others, all victims of rape and sexual violence. I thought what this would symbolize for them. And for me art is not more important than everything. Humanity first.
Arlaud's reaction (who won the César Award for Best Supporting Actor for a film about the adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of priests):
What this tells me isn't very much. Nothing has really changed. Speech is more free but the battle hasn't really advanced. Freedom of speech is above all the road of resistance it's important for people who have suffered. The victims. It's the road of resistance. After...it's not justice. That's it. That's where we are. [Roman Polanski winning Best Director] is incomprensible. Yes. Yes, yes. Well, yes.
Interviewer: Do you understand why Adèle Haenel left?
Of course. Adèle gave her extremely brilliant [interview]. In fact there was no vengence it was extremely articulate as a thought and the same time very moving, very strong. We were all shaken by that. I was shaken by that. After, it's true, I made this film and I spent time on it so perhaps it shook me more but no matter, even making this film I felt even if you're not directly involved it can't help but be an extremely violent experience, you can't help being angry. So of course I understand her gesture. And she can't do it without being rebuked.
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