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Cannes Film Festival was a 'hunting ground' for Harvey Weinstein

Yesterday. a young actress lodged a complaint for rape against French film director Luc Besson.

Asia Argento and Jury member Ava DuVernay attending the Closing Ceremony of the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival.
Asia Argento and Jury member Ava DuVernay attending the Closing Ceremony of the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival.
Image: Boyer-Hahn-Marechal/ABACA

AN ITALIAN ACTRESS who has said she was raped by disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein at the Cannes Film Festival, said he would never be welcome there again.

“This festival was his hunting ground,” Asia Argento told the festival’s award ceremony, where she presented the best actress prize.

Argento says she was 21 when she was attacked by Weinstein in his hotel room in 1997.

“He was seated among you… But thing have changed. We are not going to allow you to get away it,” she added.

“He will live in disgrace, shunned by a film community that once embraced him and covered up for his crimes. Even tonight sitting among you, there are those that need to be held accountable for their conduct against women. You know who you are.”

But most importantly we know who you are and we will not allow you to get away with it any longer.

She made the speech at the closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival, which provoked a shocked reaction from the crowd.

Luc Besson

Yesterday, a young actress lodged a complaint for rape against French film director Luc Besson, the latest in a string of sexual abuse allegations in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

The filmmaker’s lawyer Thierry Marembert said he categorically denied the claims calling them “fantasist accusations”, adding that the complainant was someone he knew “towards whom he has never behaved inappropriately”.

Police in Paris opened an investigation after the actress accused the 59-year-old ‘The Big Blue’ and ‘The Fifth Element’ director of raping her, the judicial sources said.

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A “complaint has been made for acts qualifying as rape by the plaintiff which happened Thursday night into Friday in Paris,” they said, adding that police were investigating.

Besson is a top name in the French cinema world with 12 Cesar nominations – the country’s equivalent of the Oscars – and 17 films under his belt.

- with reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha

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