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Roman Polanski leaves movie premiere in Paris by side door following protests

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Demonstrators hold banners reading 'Polanski rapist, cinemas guilties, public accomplice' during a protest against French-Polish film director Roman Polanski (Credit: Christophe ARCHAMBAULT/AFP)

Roman Polanski made a swift exit from a back door at the premiere of his new movie in Paris last night, following angry protests.

The 86-year-old director left the Cinema UGC Normandie off the Champs-Elysées as protestors picketed another cinema in the city's Latin quarter, where the film, An Officer and a Spy, released under the name J’accuse in France, was also being screened.

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Many held lit flares and carried banners branding the director a 'rapist'.

Polanski was recently named in a new rape allegation published in Le Parisien, in which a former actress claimed that she was violently sexually assaulted and raped by the director in 1975.

Director Roman Polanski attends J'Accuse premiere at Cinema UGC Normandie (Credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

62-year-old Valentine Monnier, now a photographer, said that the incident happened at a ski chalet in Gstaad, Switzerand, when she was 18.

In an open letter published in the Parisian daily, she claimed that Polanski gave her a pill of some kind, and said that she feared she 'was going to die' during the alleged incident.

Polanski has strongly denied the allegations, and says that he is considering suing the publication over the claims, which were published last Friday.

“Mr Polanski disputes in the strongest terms this rape accusation,” his lawyer Hervé Témime said. “We are working on the legal action to bring against this publication.

Demonstrators hold banners reading 'Polanski rapist' as they hold flares during a protest against French-Polish film director Roman Polanski outside the Champo cinema hall in Paris (Credit: Christophe ARCHAMBAULT/AFP)

“I want to remind everyone that these allegations relate to events that are 45 years old. I deplore the publishing of these accusations in Le Parisien on the eve of the film's release.”

Monnier is among a number of women who have accused the director of sexual assault.

Polanski famously fled the US in 1978, after serving a limited sentence for pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl the previous year.

He was again accused of sexual abuse in 2010 by the actress Charlotte Lewis, who claimed he abused her when she was 16 in 1983, and then in 2017 by a woman only identified as Robin, who said the director assaulted her in 1973, when she was also 16.