Who is Adele Haenel, French actor who criticized Cannes
The 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, which kicked off on Tuesday, has been mired in controversy for honoring individuals involved in alleged sexual misconduct. French actor Adele Haenel, in an open letter, condemned the industry for protecting abusers and called out Cannes for "defending their rapist chiefs." In response, Cannes's director, Thierry Fremaux rejected claims of it being a "festival for rapists."
Why does this story matter?
Haenel's criticisms have reignited discussions surrounding the #MeToo movement at the Cannes Film Festival. The controversy erupted when Cannes selected Jeanne du Barry as the opening film of the festival by director Maiwenn, which stars Johnny Depp as French King Louis XV. Depp has recently been embroiled in controversy surrounding his former relationship with actor Amber Heard, where there were allegations of sexual abuse.
Haenel penned an open letter slamming Cannes Film Festival
The actor penned an open letter in the Telerama Magazine last week slamming Cannes for protecting sexual abusers. She referenced the case of Gererad Depardieu, who has faced accusations of sexual violence from 13 women, yet continues to get roles in films. Haenel also mentioned Dominique Boutonnat, who was reappointed as president of the National Film Board despite being indicted for sexual assault.
Fremaux strongly disagreed with Haenel's criticism of the Cannes
In 2020, Haenel walked out of the César Awards ceremony after Roman Polanski won the best director award. In 2022, the director pleaded guilty to a court of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in August 1977. Meanwhile, Fremaux strongly disagreed with Haenel's criticisms and said, "No doubt for somewhat radical reasons, Haenel had to make this comment about Cannes, which was obviously false."
When Haenel claimed French director Christophe Ruggia sexually harassed her
In 2019, Haenel accused French director Christophe Ruggia—who helmed her first film—of sexually harassing her from the age of 12 to 15, reportedly. In a live-streamed interview on the Mediapart website, she revealed that she got the courage to speak out after watching Leaving Neverland—a documentary about alleged abuse carried out by the US pop star Michael Jackson. Ruggia had denied the accusations.
Haenel started her film career when she was just 13-year-old
Haenel debuted at the tender age of 13 and took the lead role in the 2002 film The Devils. She gained recognition for her role in Water Lilies (2007) and was nominated for a César award. In 2012, she received another César nomination for her portrayal of a young prostitute in the film L'APOLLONIDE. In 2022, the 34-year-old actor announced her retirement from acting.
Meanwhile, how has the #MeToo movement echoed through the festival?
Cannes was criticized for its handling of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein—who remained a prominent presence at Cannes despite facing multiple accusations of sexual misconduct. In addition, Cannes was called out for its lack of female representation in its Palme d'Or competition—in which only two female directors won in 76 years. In 2019, Fremaux signed a pledge promising to strive toward greater gender parity.Share this timeline