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Under fire, Polanski abandons plan to preside French Oscars

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/24/2017 By ANGELA CHARLTON, Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — Filmmaker Roman Polanski has decided not to preside over the French equivalent of the Oscars, after protests from France's women's rights minister and feminist groups because of decades-old U.S. sex charges.

An official with the arts academy that holds the Cesars Awards said Tuesday that Polanski won't take part in the Feb. 24 ceremony, and the academy is discussing alternative options. The official, who wasn't authorized to be publicly named, wouldn't comment on the reason for Polanski's decision.

Women's minister Laurence Rossignol had called it "shocking" for the 83-year-old Polanski to preside over the Cesars.

Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles in 1977, but then fled the U.S.

Polanski won the 2003 best director Oscar for "The Pianist."

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