Polanski considers suing French paper for publishing rape accusation

Director Roman Polanski considers suing the French newspaper that published accusations he raped a former actress in the 1970s

  • French actress accused Polanski of raping her at a ski chalet in Gstaad in 1975
  • Valentine Monnier, a former actress, recounted an ‘extremely violent’ assault
  • Director says he might sue Le Parisien newspaper for publishing the allegations
  • Lawyer for Oscar winner Polanski said he ‘firmly denies all accusations of rape’ 
  • Polanski is still wanted in America after pleading guilty to statutory rape in 1977 

Roman Polanski is considering suing the French newspaper that published accusations that he raped a former actress in the 1970s.

The Oscar-winning director’s lawyer made the announcement Sunday as Polanski faces renewed fire over the latest claim of sexual assault. 

Valentine Monnier, a photographer and former actress, recounted an ‘extremely violent’ assault and rape by Polanski at his chalet in the Swiss ski resort of Gstaad in 1975, when she was 18.

France’s author and director guild could meet soon on whether to exclude the French-Polish star, its vice-president told Le Parisien newspaper, which published the allegations Friday.  

In a detailed victim statement released through Le Parisien newspaper, Ms Monnier (right, in her acting days) said she now wanted to accuse Polanski (pictured left last month) of attacking her in a ski chalet in early 1975

Ms Monnier (pictured during her acting days), who now lives in New York, said she was finally speaking out after 44 years because of Polanski’s hypocrisy

Monnier said he tried to make her swallow a pill during the attack, and later made a tearful apology while demanding a promise that she never tell anyone. 

‘I thought I was going to die,’ she said in an open letter published by Le Parisien, which also interviewed her and said it had contacted witnesses who confirmed the account.

Monnier is the first Frenchwoman to level charges of sexual assault against Polanski, whose new film, ‘An Officer and a Spy’, comes out in France under the title ‘J’accuse’ on Wednesday.

‘Mr Polanski disputes in the strongest terms this rape accusation,’ his lawyer Herve Temime said in a statement.

‘We are working on the legal action to bring against this publication,’ he added. 

Monnier’s claims have rocked a French film industry already reeling after a top actress last week accused the director of her first film of sexually harassing her when she was just 12.

Describing the crime of rape as a ‘time bomb’, Ms Monnier (pictured during her acting days) said the ‘traumatic memory’ of what father-of-two Polanski did to her would never go away

Ms Monnier (pictured during her acting days), who is now 62, said: ‘In 1975 I was raped by Roman Polanski. I had no link with him, neither personnel, nor professional, and I hardly knew him’

Polanski currently lives in Paris with his wife Emmanuelle Seigner (pictured), who is 33 years younger than him, and their two children, Morgane and Elvis 

Adele Haenel, whose account has garnered an outpouring of support, on Saturday urged others to speak out in support of Monnier and ‘take notice of her story’.

The allegations may prove a turning point for French cinema, where the #MeToo movement against rape and sexual assault that rocked Hollywood has not prompted as deep a reckoning of abuses in the industry.

Broadcaster TF1 confirmed Sunday that the star of Polanski’s new film, Jean Dujardin, had cancelled a prime-time interview set for Sunday night.

The Dutch-Belgian actress Sand Van Roy, who has accused French director Luc Besson of rape in a case under investigation, tweeted that she believed Monnier’s graphic account.

Monnier wrote that Polanski ‘pummelled me until I gave in and then raped me, making me do all sorts of things’.

She had previously written to France’s first lady Brigitte Macron, who forwarded them to France’s equality minister Marlene Schiappa, who has pushed for new measures to combat sexual abuse.

Schiappa wrote to Monnier in March last year and hailed her courage ‘in daring to break the silence,’ while reiterating that the alleged attack was beyond France’s statutes of limitations for prosecution.

In 1978, Polanski pleaded guilty in US court to raping and drugging Samantha Geimer (seen left in June 2017), who was just 13 years old at the time. Geimer is seen right in 1976, a year before she was raped by Polanski

Monnier, who acted in a few films in the 1980s, said the release of Polanski’s film, about one of the most notorious errors of justice in French history, the Dreyfus affair, had prompted her to speak out.

‘How could he benefit from public funds to instrumentalise history, and in doing so rewrite his own to cover up his criminal past,’ she wrote.

Polanski was first accused of rape by the mother of American Samantha Geimer, who was 13 when she was drugged at the home of film star Jack Nicholson in Los Angeles in 1977.

In 2010, British actress Charlotte Lewis accused him of ‘sexually abusing’ her in 1983 when she was 16.

Another woman, identified only as Robin, accused him in August 2017 of sexual assault when she was 16 in 1973.

Polanski (pictured with Sharon Tate) was struck by tragedy in 1969 when his then pregnant wife was murdered along with four friends by members of the Manson family at the couple’s Hollywood home 

The murders have recently been made into a film set to be released later this month, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, by director Quentin Tarantino (pictured, Polanski with Sharon Tate) 

The next month, former actress Renate Langer filed a new complaint alleging she was raped by Polanski in 1972 when she was 15.

And then in October 2017, California artist Marianne Barnard accused him of sexually assaulting her in 1975 after asking her to pose naked when she was just 10 years old.

The claims, all denied by Polanski, nevertheless forced him to abandon the presidency of the 2017 Cesars, the French equivalent of the Oscars.

Although awarded the 2003 Best Director Oscar for ‘The Pianist’, Polanski was expelled from the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2018. 

From sexual assault accusations to the murder of his wife: Who is Roman Polanski? 

Roman Polanski, a French-Polish director whose films have won eight Oscars, has been a fugitive from the US since 1978. 

He was arrested and charged with drugging and raping 13-year-old Samantha Geimer in 1977. 

He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sex with a minor before undergoing 42 days of psychiatric evaluation in prison while awaiting sentencing. 

Once he learned the judge planned to give him a prison term, he fled to Paris and has been avoiding extradition ever since. 

Pictured is a scene from Polanski’s 1974 film, Chinatown 

Polanski was born in Paris in 1933 but moved back to Poland with his parents in 1936. 

Three years later the family were trapped in Krakow as Nazis invaded Poland. 

His parents were taken during raids, leaving Polanski to be brought up by the foster care system while using a different identity to evade Nazi capture.

In 1965 he directed his first feature-length film, Knife in the Water, before directing three more films in the UK. 

He moved to the US in 1968 where he directed psychological horror film Rosemary’s Baby and gained status. 

Pictured is a scene from Polanski’s 2005 film, Oliver Twist

In 1969 he was struck by tragedy when his then pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered along with four friends by the Manson family. 

He has been married to French actress Emmanuelle Seigner since 1989.  

After Sharon Tate’s death Polanski returned to Europe and carried on his career until 1974 when he went back to America to direct Chinatown. 

Although he was known as a convicted rapist, Polanski’s career continued to blossom after he fled America in 1978. 

He returned once more to Europe where he became famous for directing films such as The Pianist (2002), a film about a Polish Jew who was trying to avoid Nazi capture, and Oliver Twist (2005).

Pictured is a scene from Polanski’s 2002 film, The Pianist

In 2009 he was arrested by Swiss officials when he went to the Zurich Film Festival. 

His arrest sparked a backlash from Hollywood stars and Harvey Weinstein, who 80 women have accused of sexual assault, started a petition demanding Polanski’s immediate release. 

The ‘We demand the immediate release of Roman’ petition was signed by the likes of Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese and Tilda Swinton.  

In 2017 two women came forward to accuse Polanski of sexual assault, Renate Langer claimed he raped her when she was 16 in 1972. 

And Marianne Barnard claimed he molested her and photographed her naked when she was 10 years old in 1975.

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