The César Awards, France’s primary film awards ceremony, has announced that it will ban anyone who is being investigated for allegations of sexual misconduct from its ceremony next month.

The French Academy said the decision was taken “out of respect for the victims.”

Under the new rules, any person facing allegations will be barred from all events associated with and organized by the Academy. If a barred nominee wins an award, no person in attendance will be allowed to speak on their behalf.

The decision by the César awards comes as controversy surrounds rising actor Sofiane Bennacer who is currently under investigation following allegations of rape and violence.

Bennacer was one of the 32 young performers selected for the 2023 edition of the César Academy Revelations talent showcase. In November, the French Academy removed Bennacer from the talent showcase and announced that it would set new rules for candidates undergoing a judicial procedure.

Bennacer has publicly denied the accusations, saying he is the victim of harassment by a former girlfriend, who has bullied other women into testifying against him too.

Earlier this year, the daily newspaper Libération published an in-depth, two-page investigative report, quoting a number of anonymized sources who said rumors of the accusations against Bennacer had been rife during the shoot of the actor’s 2022 Palme d’Or contender Forever Young.

The César Awards also faced criticism and widescale protest in 2020 when director Roman Polanski won best director for his Dreyfus Affair drama An Officer And A Spy. Polanski has been wanted in the US for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl since the 1970s. Polanski fled the US on the eve of final sentencing in the case.

The new rules also apply to anyone who has been convicted of offenses. The Academy has said it will vote on whether to make changes to the eligibility criteria for nominations.

The 2023 César Awards take place on February 24 at the Olympia in Paris.


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