HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — French actress Emmanuelle Seigner blasted an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences as “offensive” and criticized the body for the way it has treated her husband, film director Roman Polanski.
The group behind the Academy Awards recently touted its largest and most diverse class of invitees from all aspects of filmmaking. The 2018 class, 49 percent female and 38 percent people of color, is the academy’s latest move to diversify its white male-dominant voting membership.
Seigner is best known in the U.S. for her work in Julian Schnabel’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” She responded to the academy’s invitation with a letter to the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, blasting “the insufferable hypocrisy” in their dealings with Polanski, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The celebrated director, known for films like “Rosemary’s Baby,” and winner of the 2003 Oscar for best director for “The Pianist,” was expelled from the academy, along with Bill Cosby, “in accordance with the organization’s Standards of Conduct.” The expulsion comes decades after Polanski fled the U.S. in 1978, before he could be sentenced for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, a charge to which he pleaded guilty.
In her letter, Seigner criticized the way the Academy treated Polanski – expelling him after awarding him an Oscar for “The Pianist,” a move she called “a curious case of amnesia!”
Citing Polanski’s work directing “unforgettable female characters,” Seigner argued that artists aren’t exempt from justice, “but it should be the same justice that exists for all, not a justice that goes back on its word and violates its own principles. That was the case in Los Angeles in 1977, when his first confinement in prison was supposed to be his punishment. Today, Roman has served more than the maximum sentence for the offence committed.”
Seigner and Polanski have been married since 1989.
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