Cesar Awards to ban those facing sexual misconduct allegations

The 'French Oscars' acted after concerns were raised over a longlisted star accused of assault

The 48th Cesar Awards will take place on February 24. Getty Images
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The Cesar Awards, France's version of the Oscars, will ban anyone who is being investigated for allegations of sexual misconduct. The news was announced ahead of the ceremony set to take place next month.

The decision was made over fears of protests at the event after it was revealed that rising French actor Sofiane Bennacer is being investigated by police on two allegations of rape and one of violence. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Bennacer, 25, made the shortlist for Best Newcomer for his role in Les Amandiers (Forever Young), a film about students at a prestigious performing arts academy in France who learn to navigate the ups and downs of art and love. However, his name was removed from the list of nominees in November.

Feminist groups attend a protest against film director Roman Polanski near the venue for the Cesar Awards ceremony in Paris, France, February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

The change follows a backlash that came in 2020, when Roman Polanski, who is wanted in the US for statutory rape, won Best Director for An Officer and a Spy. Although Polanski did not attend the ceremony, his win prompted several walkouts, including from Best Actress nominee Adele Haenel from Portrait of a Lady on Fire — as well as a reorganisation of the Cesar Academy.

"By respect for victims (even alleged ones in the case of an indictment or a non-definitive sentence) it has been decided to not highlight people who are either indicted or sentenced for acts of violence, notably sexual or sexist violence," the organisation said, noting this included "presumed" victims in cases under investigation.

The body said it will discuss eventual long-term changes to eligibility rules during a vote that will take place in the first half of the year.

The Cesar Awards are held in Paris every year. The 48th event will take place on February 24 and will give out an honorary award to American director David Fincher.

Updated: January 04, 2023, 9:51 AM