Polish director Roman Polanski has stepped from presiding next month's César awards, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, due to heavy protest over his nomination by a Feminist group, Osez Le Féminisme (Dare to be Feminist) . The 83-year-old Oscar winning director has been charged with rape of a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles in 1977.
The decision has, however, conveyed to the media by his lawyer,Hervé Temime . Polanski has decided to step down from presiding the awards after his nomination invited strict opposition.
Polanski is deeply saddened by the incident and in order not to disturb the César ceremony, which should focus on the cinema and not on the appointment of the president, Roman Polanski has decided not to accept the invitation.
Polanski pleaded guilty in 1977 to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, or statutory rape, and as part of the plea bargain underwent psychiatric evaluation and served 42 days in prison. But in 1978 he became convinced a judge was going to quash the deal and hand him a hefty prison sentence, and fled to France.
Last month, Polanski defeated an attempt by the US to extradite him from his native Poland.
The feminist group had called for a demonstration outside the Césars ceremony, organised by the Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques, on Saturday evening.