People under investigation for sex crimes barred from French 'Oscars' ceremony


Organisers of the César Awards, France's version of the Oscars, have said that anyone being investigated for allegations of sexual misconduct will be barred from attending the ceremony next month, though they can still be nominated.

There were fears of protests at the event on 25 February over the latest #MeToo furore involving newcomer actor Sofiane Bennacer, who is being investigated by police on two allegations of rape and one of violence against a partner.

Bennacer, 25, who denies any wrongdoing, had been seen as an awards frontrunner for his part in "Les Amandiers" (titled "Forever Young" abroad) about a sexually promiscuous group of drama students in the 1980s.

It also follows protests at the 2020 ceremony when Roman Polanski, convicted of raping a child in the 1970s, won best director – which triggered a major reorganisation of the César Academy.

In a statement, the Academy said anyone facing a potential prison sentence for "violence, notably of a sexual or sexist nature" would be excluded from the coming ceremony.

"It has been decided not to highlight people who may have been put in question by the judiciary for acts of violence," it said, adding that the step was being taken "out of respect for the victims", even if they were only "presumed" victims.

(with newswires)

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