- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Flipboard
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Tumblr
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
French actress Adèle Haenel, the star of Portrait of a Lady on Fire, has announced her retirement from the movie business, saying the complacency and indifference of the French industry to the #MeToo movement is behind her decision.
In a letter published on media news site Télérama on Tuesday, Haenel she wanted to use the public declaration of her retirement from the film business as a way to call out the “general complacency” within the French industry “vis-à-vis sexual aggressors.”
Despite several high-profile examples of sexual abuse and misconduct within the French film industry, many of which came to light in the wake of the #MeToo movement, Haenel says the powers that be have chosen to ignore and ostracize women who have come forward to sound the alarm. “They join hands [to protect] the [Gerard] Depardieus, the [Roman] Polanskis, the [Dominique] Boutonnats,” she writes in her Télérama letter, referencing three of the most prominent French film figures accused of abuse. “It bothers them that the victims make too much noise. They preferred that we disappear and die in silence.”
Those with power inside the industry have effectively “canceled” the French #MeToo movement, Haenel writes. “You have the money, the strength, and all the glory [but] you won’t have me as a spectator. I cancel you from my world.”
In 2020, Haenel stormed out of the 45th César Awards — France’s Oscars — when Roman Polanski was awarded the best director prize for his new film An Officer and a Spy. The actor shouted “shame!” as she left, followed by her Portrait of a Lady director Céline Sciamma.
The actor, who first grabbed attention with her César-nominated performance in Sciamma’s 2007 feature Water Lilies, has been a public face of France’s #MeToo movement. In 2020 she brought charges against French director Christophe Ruggia, who she accuses of sexually assaulting her when she was 12 years old and cast in Ruggia’s film The Devils. Ruggia, who denies all wrongdoing, was formally indicted but has yet to face trial.
Haenel has not appeared onscreen since The Portrait of a Lady on Fire in a role that earned her seventh César nomination (she’s a two-time winner) and got her signed to CAA in the U.S..
Instead, she has put her energies into political activism and is frequently seen at public protests and demonstrations, most recently in nationwide mobilizations against planned pension reforms by the French government.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day