Emmanuelle Seigner, Polanski’s Wife, Rejects Academy Invitation

Posted July 8, 2018 3:54 p.m. EDT

French actress Emmanuelle Seigner rejected an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Sunday in response to the organization’s expulsion of her husband, Roman Polanski.

“The insufferable hypocrisy!” Seigner wrote in an open letter published in the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche. “You offend me while claiming to want to protect women.”

Seigner was one of 928 film industry professionals invited to join the academy in June, as part of an ongoing effort to diversify the Oscars voting pool. The organization has been plagued by outrage over the lack of diversity in Oscar nominations as well as sexual harassment scandals enveloping some of its most famous members. It expelled Harvey Weinstein in October and Polanski as well as Bill Cosby in May.

The academy’s leaders pledged to double membership among women and people of color by 2020 and adopted a code of conduct that read: “There is no place in the academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency.”

Polanski has been a fugitive from the United States since 1978, when he fled the country while awaiting sentencing for statutory rape; he had pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl. He has since been publicly accused by four women of sexual assault, including by German actress Renate Langer.

Seigner defended her husband in the letter, calling the accusations false and saying that Polanski has been sufficiently punished. “I feel that all his life, from the Nazis of his childhood to the present day, Roman has been condemned to perpetual flight, without the slightest effort by any part of the media to look at his case with an open mind,” Seigner wrote.

“The Academy probably thinks I am enough of a spineless, social climbing actress that I would forget that I have been married for the past 29 years to one of the world’s greatest directors,” she wrote. “I love him, he is my husband and the father of my children. He has been cast out like a pariah.”