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‘French Oscars’ exclude those under investigation for crimes

‘French Oscars’ exclude those under investigation for crimes

Paris: The Cesar Awards, France’s version of the Oscars, said on Monday that anyone under investigation for allegations of sexual misconduct would be barred from its ceremony next month.

Protests were feared at the Feb. 25 event over the latest #MeToo furor involving newcomer Sofiane Bennacer, who is under police investigation into two allegations of rape and one of partner abuse.

Bennacer, 25, who denies any wrongdoing, had been considered a favorite for his role in ‘The Almond Trees’ (titled ‘Forever Young’ overseas) about a group of sexually promiscuous drama students in the years 1980.

It also follows protests at the 2020 ceremony when Roman Polanski, convicted of raping a child in the 1970s, won the best director award – which sparked a major reorganization of the Académie des César .

“It was decided not to implicate people likely to have been implicated by justice for acts of violence”, he specified, specifying that the measure was taken “out of respect for the victims “, even if they were only” presumed “victims”.

Bennacer was dropped from the long list of potential candidates in November after new allegations surfaced in the media.

The director of “Almond Trees”, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi (also considered Bennacer’s girlfriend), denounced “a media lynching”.

She admitted on Instagram that the film’s producers knew about the allegations against Bennacer during casting, “but I told them that those rumors wouldn’t stop me and that I couldn’t consider doing the film without him.”

His famous sister, singer and former French first lady Carla Bruni, said the actor’s treatment undermined the presumption of innocence, “one of the foundations of our democracy”.

The Cesar Academy said it is still debating whether people with misconduct allegations and convictions should be excluded entirely from future nominations and awards, with a decision expected in the coming weeks.

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