French Guild Moves Closer to Sanctions on Members Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Elsa Keslassy

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France’s authors, directors and producers guild has moved a step closer to imposing sanctions on any member under investigation for or guilty of a sexual offense – a process that could result in the suspension of controversial director Roman Polanski.

The board of the ARP voted Monday evening in favor of the policy, which now must go before the organization’s membership for ratification at its next board meeting, the guild said in a statement. Although the next regularly scheduled board meeting is in spring 2020, a guild spokesperson told Variety that the vote would take place during an extraordinary general assembly whose date has not been determined. The ARP has about 200 members.

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The policy calls for suspension of any member under investigation for sexual misconduct and expulsion for anyone found guilty. If the ARP membership ratifies the move, Polanski would be suspended, the ARP said. (Although he was convicted of statutory rape in 1977, the ARP said that the judicial process in that case was still ongoing.)

Polanski was also accused on Nov. 8 by the actor Valentine Monnier of having raped her 44 years ago. Polanski has denied the allegations and is threatening to sue. The allegation cannot result in any criminal charges because Switzerland’s 20-year statute of limitations has passed.

The ARP said that it “strongly supports all victims of violence” and that its new proposed policy was designed “to support the fight for the rights of victims, notably in the case of sexual assaults.” The guild said that “if a person who is being investigated is [not indicted], he will be fully re-integrated into the ARP after having been suspended. On the other hand, if the accused person is convicted, he will then be excluded.”

The ARP also said that while it was not “entitled to tell audiences what films to watch or not watch” or “position itself as an adjudicator of such allegations,” the “film sector must conduct an introspective examination and lead strong actions to prevent these serious acts and support victims in their undertakings.”

One of France’s most powerful film guilds, the ARP boasts an administrative board that includes Oscar-winning director and honorary president Claude Lelouch, Radu Mihaileanu, Costa Gavras, Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano and Jean-Paul Salomé.

The ARP also decided on Monday to sign the new pledge for inclusion in the film and audiovisual industry which was initiated by the organization 5050 x 2020. Through the pledge, the ARP commits to promoting industry members, either below or above the line, who are visible or invisible minorities.

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