(JTA) — Academy Award-winning director Roman Polanski, who fled the United States some four decades ago after being convicted of sexually assaulting an underage girl, has been accused by another woman of sexually assaulting her when she was 10.
Some 16,769 people have signed an online petition set up by artist Marianne Barnard calling on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to kick out the Polish-born director. Barnard is one of five women who have accused Polanski of sexually molesting them when they were underage.
Barnard tweeted about Polanski last week in the wake of a New York Times report on sexual harassment allegations against Jewish movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. The Weinstein disclosures led to the #metoo campaign on social media in which women have come forward to share their stories of being sexually harassed or assaulted.
Barnard told the British newspaper The Sun that Polanski molested her during a 1975 photo shoot on the beach when her mother stepped away from the area. She said she has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from the incident and reliving it has been very difficult for her.
“I felt terribly conflicted that I have been silent all this time and all these women are bravely coming forward, and I thought to myself I can’t in good conscious knowing what I know — and having gone through what I’ve gone through — not speak out,” she told The Sun.
Polanski, who has French and Polish citizenship, lives in Paris. He won an Oscar for best director for “The Pianist” in 2002, though he could not enter the United States to accept the award. He fled the country in 1977.