Academy Award-winning director Roman Polanski, who fled the United States some four decades ago after being convicted of sexually assaulting an underage girl, has been accused by another woman of sexually assaulting her when she was 10.
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Some 16,769 people have signed an online petition set up by artist Marianne Barnard calling on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to kick out the Polish-born director. Barnard is one of five women who have accused Polanski of sexually molesting them when they were underage.
Barnard tweeted about Polanski last week in the wake of a The New York Times report on sexual harassment allegations against Jewish movie mogul Harvey Weinstein by several women, including some renowned actresses. The Weinstein disclosures led to the #metoo campaign on social media in which women have come forward to share their stories of being sexually harassed or assaulted.
“#RomanPolanski took photos of me naked & in fur coat on beach in Malibu, I was 10 yrs old. He went on from there. This ends now #ROSEARMY,” the tweet said.
The hashtag #Rosearmy was created by actress Rose McGowan, who has claimed that Weinstein raped her in a hotel room in 1997.
Barnard told the British newspaper The Sun that Polanski molested her during that 1975 photo shoot on the beach when her mother stepped away from the area. She said she has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from the incident and reliving it has been very difficult for her.
“I felt terribly conflicted that I have been silent all this time and all these women are bravely coming forward, and I thought to myself I can’t in good conscious knowing what I know — and having gone through what I’ve gone through — not speak out,” she told The Sun.
In her petition Barnard wrote: “The board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently voted to revoke the membership of film producer, Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexually harassing and assaulting countless women for nearly 30 years. I am asking you to sign this petition to demand the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revoke Roman Polanski’s board membership. It is a small consequence for him considering his crimes and the great amount of harm he has caused me and his other victims.”
Polanski, who has French and Polish citizenship, lives in Paris. He won an Oscar for best director for “The Pianist” in 2002, though he could not enter the United States to accept the award. He fled the country in 1977.