Roman Polanski’s wife turns down offer to join Oscars body

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Entertainment desk, July 8: Roman Polanski’s wife has rejected an invitation to become a member of the awards body behind the Oscars, extended weeks after it expelled her husband.French actress Emmanuelle Seigner accused the Academy of “insufferable hypocrisy” over the incident.

Polanski, who admitted unlawful sex with a 13-year-old in the US in 1977, was ejected from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in May.

The 84-year-old director is currently suing the Academy over the expulsion.

Seigner, who was one of 928 artists invited to join the Academy as part of a bid to boost diversity last month, gave her response in an open letter published in France’s Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

She said: “I have always been a feminist. But how can I ignore the fact that a few weeks ago the Academy expelled my husband, Roman Polanski, in an attempt to appease the zeitgeist – the very same Academy which in 2002 awarded him an Oscar for The Pianist! A curious case of amnesia!

“The Academy probably thinks I am enough of a spineless, social climbing actress that I would forget that I have been married to one of the world’s greatest directors for the past 29 years.”

Seigner has worked with her husband on films including Bitter Moon, Venus in Fur and The Ninth Gate.

The 52-year-old has also appeared in The Man Who Laughs and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

In December the Academy issued a new code of conduct for its members that outlined its plans to address sexual harassment in the film industry.

It came in response to the allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein and others in the ensuing #MeToo campaign.

Academy CEO Dawn Hudson wrote a letter to all 8,427 members telling them they would be expected to abide by the new guidelines.

“There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognised standards of decency,” she wrote.

Polanski admitted unlawful sex with Samantha Geimer, who was 13 years old in 1977, and served 42 days in prison.

The Rosemary’s Baby director subsequently fled the US over concern that a plea bargain deal would be scrapped.

Weinstein was the first person to be kicked out of the Academy in recent years, in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal.

The mogul, whose films have received more than 300 Oscar nominations, was expelled from the organisation in October.

Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex and pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault charges earlier this month.

In May, the decision was taken to expel Polanski along with disgraced TV star Bill Cosby.

Actor Carmine Caridi lost his membership in 2004 for sharing copies of film screeners.

Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant had his invitation rescinded earlier this month, despite winning an Oscar in March for animated short Dear Basketball.

Source: Agencies