France’s National Film Academy — Académie des César — tweeted Wednesday that they were “proud to present” convicted child rapist Roman Polanski as the president of their 42nd awards ceremony. The Césars are considered the French equivalent of the Oscars.
This has understandably sparked outrage in the United States, where Polanski pled guilty in 1977 to raping and sodomizing a 13-year-old girl after drugging her. Following his conviction, Polanski fled to France, where he has lived in exile and thrived as a director for almost 40 years, except for a short time in 2009, when he was arrested in Switzerland and detained for extradition to the United States.
He was later released on bail and in 2010, freed when the Swiss denied the request for extradition. Also in 2010, another of Polanski’s victims went public. British actress Charlotte Lewis told the media: “He just said very coldly, ‘If you’re not a big enough girl to have sex with me, you’re not big enough to do the screen test. I must sleep with every actress that I work with, that’s how I get to know them, how I mold them.'” This happened four years after he fled the U.S. as a convicted child rapist.
Polanski, now 83, was born to Polish parents in France and is a citizen of the country, which has no extradition treaty. He’s scheduled to deliver the opening and closing speeches during the Césars Feb. 24 ceremony in Paris.
Do you think Roman Polanski should be honored by the French Academy? Tell us your thoughts below in the comments. ~Alexandra Heilbron
— Académie des César (@Les_Cesar) January 18, 2017