French Film Industry & Cannes Film Festival Reportedly Bracing For Avalanche Of #MeToo Accusations

French Film Industry & Cannes Film Festival Reportedly Bracing For Avalanche Of #MeToo Accusations

With less than a week to go until the kick-off of the 81st Cannes Film Festival, speculation is mounting in the French media and local film industry over rumors that a bombshell #MeToo exposé will drop on the day of the opening.

There has been talk in the French film industry for weeks that a raft of #MeToo accusations is due to break in the lead up and during the upcoming edition.

The rumors come amid a fresh #MeToo wave in France, sparked by actress and filmmaker Judith Godrèche’s decision to speak up about sexual abuse she says suffered as a teenager at the hands of director Benoît Jacquot. He has denied the allegations.

The speculation may come to nothing but an article by French newspaper Le Figaro last weekend headlined “#MeToo: before the Cannes Film Festival, the cinema industry is in a cold sweat” has sent the local rumor mill into overdrive.

The investigative report suggested that around a dozen prominent French directors, actors and producers could be subject to public #MeToo allegations in the coming days, without naming names.

Le Figaro revealed that Cannes Film Festival president Iris Knobloch has hired an unnamed crisis management PR firm to help the event weather the potential approaching storm.

It said the former Warner Bros exec and trained lawyer was on “reinforced vigilance” and that the festival team and crisis management firm had been working out scenarios on a case-by-case basis on how to deal with potential accusations.

The Cannes Film Festival has not responded to a Deadline request for comment.

The festival does not have an official protocol with regards to how to deal with guests accused of sexual harassment and abuse.

The Le Figaro report suggested that the festival could remove films from competition, or dis-invite accused professionals from the red carpet, depending on the severity of the eventual accusations.

France’s César Academy created a set of rules two years ago banning professionals under official police investigation for acts of violence from its annual ceremony.

But the lines could be blurred for Cannes because potential accusations may not be accompanied by official police complaints and even if they are, the festival will need to respect the principal of presumption of innocence.

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