PARIS • France's minister for women's rights has said she found it "surprising and shocking" that fugitive film-maker Roman Polanski was chosen to preside over France's equivalent of the Oscars.
Polanski, 83, has been wanted in the United States for decades for the rape of a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles. The decision to honour him at France's Cesars ceremony has infuriated women's groups, with many taking to social media to call for a boycott of the televised show.
Minister Laurence Rossignol last Friday told France Culture radio she found it "surprising and shocking that a rape case counts for little in the life of a man". The choice of Polanski to head the Cesars jury showed "an indifference with regard to the acts of which he is accused" and "a sort of banalisation of rape", she said.
A petition calling for him to be removed as president of the 42nd Cesars, to be held in Paris on Feb 24, had garnered more than 42,000 signatures by Friday.