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César Awards, France’s own Oscars, ban nominees facing sexual assault probe

Anyone being investigated for violent crimes punishable by imprisonment – especially those of a sexual nature – will be barred from attending this year’s ceremony, the César Academy has said.

The famed César Awards is often termed the French version of the Oscars. This time around, as the date for the César Awards get nearer, the César Academy has come up with a path-breaking decision

When the César Awards get underway next month, it would also be an occasion to pay respects to victims of sexual assault. The France’s version of the Oscars has decided to ban those who are facing prison sentence for sexual assault from its 2023 event.

Going by a report, the Academy has announced that “anyone being investigated for violent crimes punishable by imprisonment – especially those of a sexual nature – will be barred from attending this year’s ceremony on 25 February”.

Sofiane Bennacer out of César Awards nominees’ list

This brings to the fore the backlash the Academy had faced after Roman Polanski, wanted in the US for statutory rape, won best director at the 2020 César Awards ceremony. Since then, the Academy seems to have been mulling over bringing in a strict norm by keeping those accused of sexual assault away from its limits.

The new decision will also mean that French actor Sofiane Bennacer, who is facing a probe into alleged rape, will not be allowed to participate this year. Though the actor has denied all allegations against him, fears of protests if he is invited had been brewing for long.

As per its new norm, the César Academy has struck off Bennacer’s name from the nominations this November. Further, the Academy is also lining up plans to make this norm a permanent in the awards eligibility criteria. The César Academy has been quoted saying that it will put to vote for a decision on whether to make this a permanent rule.

Decision out of respect for the victims

Out of respect for the victims… it has been decided not to highlight people who may have been implicated by the judiciary in acts of violence, BBC News quoted an Academy statement. The statement also added that this included “presumed” victims in cases under probe.

It may be recalled that the entire board of the Academy had quit in 2020 after Polanski was nominated for best director. And when he was picked for the award many protested, and a number of actresses had walked out of the awards ceremony.

This year, the young actor Bennacer had been nominated for his role in the film Les Amandiers. However, allegations of rape and assault against him has led to a police investigation. The actor has said that he was being falsely accused.

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »

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