Award-winning French actress Adèle Haenel says she is on cinema strike in protest against its failure to tackle sexual predators.
In a letter to French magazine Telerama, Ms Haenel announced that she has not worked in the film industry in several years owing to “the general complacency within the profession towards sexual aggressors”.
The 34-year-old César-winning actress accused the industry of silencing those who have come out with allegations against insiders, including the actor Gerard Depardieu and film director Roman Polanski.
“It bothers them that the victims make too much noise,” she wrote. “They would prefer that we disappear and die in silence. They’re ready to do anything to defend their rapist chiefs, those who are so rich that they believe they belong to a superior species, those who make a show of this superiority by objectifying women and subordinates.”
Depardieu, 74, has faced multiple allegations of sexual assault, most recently last month when 13 women came forward as part of a Mediapart investigation, accusing the actor of multiple incidents of sexual violence over the course of two decades. Depardieu denies the claims.
Meanwhile Polanski, 89, has lived between France and Switzerland ever since fleeing the US in 1977 after pleading guilty to statutory rape for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
Ms Haenel stormed out of the Césars, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, in 2020 when Polanski won best director for his film An Officer and a Spy.
She shouted “shame!” and “bravo paedophilia!” as she walked out of the ceremony, accompanied by several other women from the industry. She has kept away from cinema ever since.
In the letter, Ms Haenel said France’s film industry had “cancelled” its own #MeToo movement, which was sparked after revelations about the predatory behaviour of US film mogul Harvey Weinstein in 2017.
Ms Haenel accused film director Christophe Ruggia of assaulting her on the set of The Devils when she was 12-years-old.
He was indicted in January 2020 for “sexual aggression of a minor” but denies the charges.
Ms Haenel won the César for Best Actress in 2015, having collected the competition’s Best Supporting Actress award the previous year. Her most recent films were Deerskin (2019) and Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019).