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Actress Accuses Roman Polanski of Raping Her in 1975

The Hollywood Reporter logo The Hollywood Reporter 11/8/2019 Katie Kilkenny

Director Roman Polanski has again been accused of sexual assault.

The French actress Valentine Monnier accuses the Officer and a Spy director of violently raping her in 1975 in a Friday story in Le Parisien. The alleged attack, which occurred when Monnier was 18 years old, was corroborated by several other sources who conferred with Le Parisien.

"In 1975, I was raped by Roman Polanski," she wrote in a statement to the publication. "I had no connection to him, personal or professional, and barely knew him. This didn't happen in the fracas of a party (there were no drugs, no alcohol). This was an extreme act of violence, after we went skiing at his chalet in Gstaad. He hit me, ripped off my clothes until I surrendered and made me submit to a number of unpleasant acts. I had just turned 18 years old."

In a statement to Le Parisien, Polanski's attorney denied all charges. "Roman Polanski strongly denies all accusation of rape. On a personal note, I can't help but add that the alleged action took place 40 years ago. That they were never, throughout all these long years, brought to the attention of a judiciary authority or to Mr. Polanski. Under these conditions, I strongly protest the release, on the eve of the film's release, of these accusations."

Over the course of her long statement to Le Parisien, Monnier questions the French title and topic of Polanski's latest, J'Accuse (An Officer and a Spy is the English title), which chronicles the wrongful imprisonment of 20th century French captain Alfred Dreyfus. She argues that Polanski chose to make the film to "whitewash" his own history.

"'Separate the art and artist,' we've heard in the last few years, and yet Polanski himself transposes the history that he has tried to overcome over the course of many years repeatedly into the film, pushing his own history closer to that of Dreyfus, to the point where he poses as a victim of the same fury of mendacious trials and media," she writes. "Polanski isn't the victim of anyone but himself and I no longer have the choice [to stay silent]."

As for why she stayed silent until now, Monnier says that she was in shock, that she felt cautious and young and was filled with a sense of powerlessness. Moreover, "France had made [Polanski] untouchable." After spending some time in the U.S. not long after the alleged incident, Monnier says she was in denial until Polanski was arrested in Zurich in 2009 at the request of the U.S. justice system, still seeking to try him on charges of unlawful sex with a minor, and she remembered her own experience. Monnier then accuses Polanski of using history to rewrite his own with J'Accuse.

French resistance to Polanski's history of fleeing the United States in 1977 to escape charges of sexual assault of a minor and finding refuge in France has amplified amid the #MeToo movement (#BalanceTonPorc in France): In 2017, protestors interrupted a Roman Polanski retrospective at the Cinémathèque Française in Paris with messages decrying the choice of director.

Two years later, An Officer and a Spy has received festival attention; it premiered at the Venice Film Festival and got a secret presentation at Cannes. Stateside, Polanski remains somewhat radioactive: He is currently suing the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science for kicking him out of the Academy in 2018.

The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Polanski's representatives for comment.

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