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"Portrait Of A Lady On Fire" Actor Adèle Haenel Stormed Out Of An Awards Ceremony After Roman Polanski Won

"Bravo, pedophilia!" the actor yelled after walking out of the French César awards. Polanski is a convicted child rapist.

Posted on February 29, 2020, at 3:42 p.m. ET

Abaca Press / Sipa USA via AP

Actor Adèle Haenel walked out in protest of the César awards — France's equivalent of the Oscars — after Roman Polanski won the Best Director award for his film An Officer and a Spy.

"Bravo, pedophilia!" Haenel, who starred in the film Portrait of a Lady on Fire, was heard saying in the lobby of the Salle Pleyel concert hall, where the awards show was held.

Polanski was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl but fled the US in 1978 before he could be sentenced. He has been living in exile since.

“Bravo, pedophilia!” Adèle Haenel, star of Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and the film’s director Céline Sciamma walking out after child rapist Roman #Polanski won the best director award at the Césars, #France’s equivalent to the Oscars. h/t @alucarda

The director has continued working during his exile, but his nomination sparked outrage in France's film industry, leading to the 21 members of the César Academy to resign and the replacement of its president, Variety reported.

Several other people could be seen walking out of the 45th annual awards ceremony Friday night after Polanski won, including Portrait of a Lady on Fire director Céline Sciamma.

A l'annonce du César de la Meilleure Réalisation pour Roman Polanski ("J'accuse"), Adèle Haenel quitte la salle. Le meilleur des #César2020 >

Outside the venue, demonstrators protested Polanski's nomination, clashing with police.

Neither Polanski nor the film's crew members attended the ceremony. Alain Goldman, who produced An Officer and a Spy, said the cast and crew would not attend the show because of "an escalation of inappropriate and violent language and behavior," according to Variety.

Polanski previously said he would avoid a "public lynching" and not attend the awards show.

Abaca Press / Sipa USA via AP

Haenel has been a leading figure in what has become France's own #MeToo movement. In November, she accused French director Christophe Ruggia of sexually harassing her for years, beginning when she was 12 years old.

The accusation prompted French authorities to launch an investigation. Ruggia now faces sexual aggression charges.

Despite the protests and the controversy prompted by his film, Polanski still had some support from colleagues in the industry.

French actor Brigitte Bardot posted a handwritten note of support for the director.

"I judge him on his talent and not on his private life!" she wrote. "I regret never having shot with him!"

Haenel was not the only celebrity to protest Polanski's win. Florence Foresti — a French comedian and host of the Césars, who opened the ceremony by calling out "predators" — did not return to the stage after Polanski's win.

Shortly after the ceremony, she posted a single word to her Instagram story: "Disgusted."


A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.