Roman Polanski: French court acquits director of defamation


A Paris court has acquitted director Roman Polanski of defaming a British actor who accused him of raping her when she was a teenager.

In 2019, he told Paris Match magazine that Charlotte Lewis had lied about being sexually assaulted by him four decades ago.

Ms Lewis, 56, brought the case against the 90-year-old filmmaker.

She told the court in March that she had become the victim of a “smear campaign” that “nearly destroyed” her.

Ms Lewis told the BBC she will appeal the decision.

Mr Polanski fled the United States in 1978 after admitting having sex with a thirteen-year-old girl.

Several other women have since come forward with claims that Mr Polanski abused them. He denies all claims against him.

In 2010, Ms Lewis accused the director of assaulting her in “the worst possible way” when she was 16 in 1983 in Paris, after she had travelled there for a casting. She later appeared in his 1986 film Pirates.

But in an interview with the Paris Match magazine, the France-born filmmaker claimed it was a “heinous lie”. He did not attend the trial.

Paris Match reported that during the interview he allegedly read from a 1999 article in the now-defunct British tabloid newspaper News of the World, which quoted Lewis as saying: “I was fascinated by him, and I wanted to be his lover.”

Ms Lewis has said the quotes attributed to her in that interview were not accurate.

She filed a complaint for defamation, and the film director was automatically charged under French law.

Mr Polanski, known for films including Chinatown, The Pianist, and Rosemary’s Baby, has faced controversy for decades since fleeing the United States.

He has French and Polish citizenship, and has evaded various extradition attempts by US authorities.

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