New allegations of rape have emerged against fugitive director Roman Polanski, and Polanski is threatening legal action against the paper that ran the story.
On November 8, the French publication Le Parisien ran a story in which French photographer and former actress Valentine Monnier claimed that she was raped by Polanski at his property in Gstaad, Switzerland, in 1975. According to Deadline’s translation of the article, Monnier, who was 18 at the time, described the alleged rape as being “extremely violent,” in an open letter submitted to Le Parisien.
Monnier said that Polanski forced her to swallow a pill during the assault, and that he later approached her to apologize and extract a promise of her silence, The Guardian reported.
Polanski’s French attorney, Hervé Témime, issued a statement on the director’s behalf saying he “most firmly contests the accusation of rape.”
In a statement to the press, Témime said his client “will not participate in the media trial,” according to Deadline. Témime added, “Never has this accusation been brought to Polanski’s knowledge, and neither to a judicial institution, except for a letter sent to the California prosecutor two years ago, according to Le Parisien.”
Témime added that he was working on legal action against the paper.
Polanski has lived in Europe since 1978, when he absconded from the United States on the eve of his sentencing after pleading guilty to the statutory rape of then-13-year-old Samantha Geimer, whom he had drugged. Monnier’s alleged rape predates Geimer’s by two years.
This summer, Polanski’s film “An Officer and a Spy” won the grand jury prize at the Venice film festival. In press notes for the film, which retold the story of the Dreyfus affair, Polanski appeared to conflate his 1977 indictment for raping Geimer, with the ordeal of Alfred Dreyfus, a French Jewish officer wrongly accused of treason at the end of the 19th century.
“I must admit that I am familiar with many of the workings of the apparatus of persecution shown in the film, and that has clearly inspired me,” Polanski said in an interview included in the press notes.
Monnier reported that she was inspired by the release of the film, and particularly the French subsidies that financed it. “How could he benefit from public funds to instrumentalize history, and in doing so rewrite his own to cover up his criminal past?” she wrote, according to The Guardian.
In 2017, following reports of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assaults, Monnier said she wrote letters about her rape to the Los Angeles Police Department, which oversaw the 1978 case against Polanski, as well as French first lady Brigitte Macron and certain French cultural authorities.
Monnier is one of six women to accuse Polanski of rape or sexual assault. Polanski has denied every claim to emerge after Geimer’s. In 2017, a judge rejected the Oscar-winning director’s attempt to have the Geimer case dismissed.
PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture fellow. He can be reached at email@example.com
Roman Polanski Accused Of 1975 Rape