Sexual violence. Roman Polanski will be tried for defamation in March 2024

The Paris Criminal Court decided on Tuesday that the filmmaker Roman Polanski will be tried for defamation on March 5, 2024 in Paris. He is accused of having questioned the veracity of the accusations of sexual abuse brought against him by actress Charlotte Lewis.

In 2010, the British actress, who had shot in the film Pirates directed by Roman Polanski in 1986, claimed to have been « sexually abused » by the filmmaker in his Paris apartment in the early 1980s, when she was 16 years old. In an interview published by Paris Match in December 2019, Roman Polanski Polanski questioned this testimony.

Words never spoken?

“You see, the first quality of a good liar is an excellent memory. We always mention Charlotte Lewis in the list of my accusers without ever noting these contradictions, ”said the 89-year-old Franco-Polish director, targeted by several rape charges. Accusing her of a « heinous lie », the filmmaker mentioned remarks attributed to the actress in an interview she had given in 1999 to the British tabloid News of the World.

The filmmaker underlined the following sentence attributed to Ms. Lewis in 1999: “I knew that Roman had done something bad in the United States, but I wanted to be his mistress (…). I probably wanted it more than he wanted it. » The actress, however, challenged the veracity of these past remarks in 2010. “Many of the quotes attributed to me in the article by News of the World are not accurate,” she said.

A not surprising dismissal

Following the interview published in Paris Match, Charlotte Lewis’s lawyers had filed a complaint with civil action in March 2020, leading to the filmmaker’s referral to the criminal court. In press law, referral to court is almost automatic in such a procedure and the merits of the charges are examined at the hearing.

Contacted, Me Delphine Meillet, one of Roman Polanski’s lawyers, did not wish to comment. Since the end of the 1970s, accusations of sexual abuse have regularly caught up with the life of the man who was born in Paris in 1933 and won three Oscars and a Palme d’Or at Cannes.

In 2020, his crowning of best director for I accuse to the Caesars had caused the departure of the ceremony of Adèle Haenel. An image that has become one of the symbols of the fight against sexual violence and for equality in the world of cinema.


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