Roman Polanski petition circulating at Cannes
Michael Douglas among those rebuffing docket of support
CANNES -- To sign or not to sign is the big question at this year's Festival de Cannes, and there's not a deal memo in sight. But then a petition in support of director Roman Polanski, who is under house arrest in Switzerland in connection with a 33-year-old sex scandal, is always going to set tongues wagging.
The Croisette-pounders have even more to buzz about following new allegations Friday by British actress Charlotte Lewis that she was sexually abused by Polanski in 1982 when she was 16.
Just hours before Lewis made the claim at a news conference in Los Angeles, Michael Douglas -- in town this weekend for "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" -- said "Non" to the Polanski petition. It would be "unfair" for him to sign a petition for "somebody who did break the law," Douglas told French radio.
But the call is out for Competition directors to sign a docket in support of Polanski. The petition, posted on a website overseen by French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, asks for "justice" from the Swiss authorities.
Cannes participants who've already put pen to paper for Polanski include Jean-Luc Godard, actor-director Mathieu Amalric, Bertrand Tavernier and Olivier Assayas.
But not everyone has signed up; organizers said there are mixed reasons -- some because they did not wish to be included while others, "more numerous," because they simply "did not have enough time to contact them."
A spokesperson for the Festival de Cannes told The Hollywood Reporter that it was not for the festival to offer an opinion on the petition or the fresh allegations.
"Our role here is to celebrate the artists and the films of the people who are here in Cannes," said a spokesperson. "This is for people to personally decide on, and it is not our role to speak out in this way."
With no movie here and "The Ghost Writer" having rolled out in most international territories after its domestic release by Summit Entertainment, it is all grist for the comment mills.
Polanski pleaded guilty in 1978 to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. But after a judge said he would renege on the plea bargain, Polanski fled to his native France and has been a fugitive since then.
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