Emmanuelle Seigner, Roman Polanski’s wife, calls invitation to join movie Academy “insufferable hypocrisy”

By David Walsh
11 July 2018

Emmanuelle Seigner, the French actress and wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski, published an open letter Sunday scathingly rejecting an invitation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to join its ranks.

The Academy expelled Polanski in May as a panic-stricken by-product of the #MeToo sexual harassment witch hunt. It did so, in its own words, “in accordance with the organization’s Standards of Conduct… The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity.”

Roman Polanski and Emmanuelle Seigner in 2011 (Photo credit: Georges Biard)

In 1977, Polanski pled guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, 13-year-old Samantha Gailey (now Geimer). He spent 42 days in prison undergoing psychiatric examination and fled the US when a vindictive judge, guilty of gross misconduct in the case, threatened to renege on a plea agreement and sentence Polanski to a lengthy jail term.

In May, Samantha Geimer condemned the Academy’s action as “an ugly and cruel action which serves only appearance… I say to Roman, good riddance to bad rubbish, the Academy has no true honor, it’s all just P.R.” Geimer impolitely referred to the Academy as “a bunch of douchebags.”

On June 25, the Academy grandly announced it was “extending invitations to join the organization to 928 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures.” The media dutifully noted that the invitation reflected the Academy’s well-publicized and well-promoted “push for diversity.”

The organization let it be known that the new would-be inductees, from 59 countries, were 49 percent female and that, additionally, 38 percent of the group were people of color. ABC News reported that with “the new additions, the academy membership will be 31 percent female, up from 28 percent, and 16 percent people of color, an increase from 13 percent.”

The pompously named Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as we have previously noted, has a generally filthy history. Founded in 1927 essentially as a “company union” by studio executive Louis B. Mayer, as a means of avoiding or suppressing labor organization, the Academy distinguished itself during the McCarthy era in the 1940s and 1950s by spearheading the anticommunist witch hunt and purges.

Never known for their farsightedness or perspicacity, the geniuses at the Academy appear to have outdone themselves June 25 by including Emmanuelle Seigner among those invited to be members, only weeks after piously and disgracefully expelling her husband. (The invitation, with Seigner’s name still included, remains accessible online.)

Seigner, in her open letter, published in Le Journal du Dimanche, takes the Academy to task for its invitation “in the cause of much-needed feminism.” She continues: “How could anyone doubt my concern for equality between men and women? … But how can I ignore the fact that a few weeks ago the Academy expelled my husband, Roman Polanski, in an attempt to appease the zeitgeist [pour satisfaire l'air du temps]the very same Academy which in 2002 awarded him an Oscar for The Pianist! A curious case of amnesia!”

Seigner goes on forcefully, “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. I love him, he is my husband and the father of my children. He has been cast out like a pariah. Yet these same nameless academicians think that I should ‘mount the steps of glory’ behind his back? The insufferable hypocrisy! This proposal is one insult too many. I cannot remain silent any longer. You offend me while claiming to want to protect women!”

The actress explains that she can no longer keep quiet “about this affair which has transformed the life of my entire family since his arrest in Switzerland on 26 September 2009… Ever since he was arrested he has been falsely slandered as a pervert. I am the only one who is able to testify just how much he regrets what happened 40 years ago. And yet, I am powerless when the press publishes scandals he was supposedly involved infalse testimonies, tales of women who claim to have been raped and yet never pressed charges.”

Further, Seigner explains that, “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. On the contrary, they only seek to make it worse… He bears no resemblance to this caricature of maleness, this symptom of the evil that ravages cinema. And yet the Academy expects me not support this man?”

She concludes, “As for the members of the Academy, I have only one thing to say to them: this is one woman you won’t have.”

Seigner is entirely correct to berate the Academy for its inhumanity and zeal to go along with the #MeToo lynch mob. Her letter helps expose the shabbiness and dishonesty of the Hollywood liberal establishment, entirely dominated by the pro-Democratic Party identity politics industry. There is nothing principled or socially progressive in the current campaign, aimed at leveraging sexual abuse claims into career and financial advancement for a layer of affluent female professionals.

The stupidity and insensitivity of the Academy in “honoring” Seigner with such an invitation seem almost unfathomable.

But there’s more to it than that. The haste and carelessness with which the invitations were obviously organized reveals the sham of the entire “diversity” campaign. The Academy officialdom was largely fulfilling what were, in effect, gender and ethnic quotas. The organization clearly didn’t even know who its invitees were. As long as they were female or people of color, that apparently was enough!

Again, the claim that Hollywood is becoming more “inclusive” and significantly extending the scope of its representations of life by including a new layer of upper-middle class women, African-Americans and gays is fraudulent. The great question in American filmmaking is the social one—the exclusion from filmmaking of the overwhelming majority of the working-class population—white, black, male, female, Hispanic, gay and otherwise—and the far more compelling drama of their conditions and existence.

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