Roman Polanski has turned down an offer to preside over the 42nd edition of the French Césars on Feb 24, his lawyer told French news agency Afp on Tuesday .
Last week’s announcement by organising body the Academy of Cinema Arts and Sciences sparked controversy in light of the 1977 charge that the director sexually-assaulted a 13-year-old girl on the fringes of a Vogue photoshoot in Los Angeles.
Alongside calls for a boycott, a petition demanding his removal from the role drew some 60,000 signatures.
A number of women’s rights groups had called for a demonstration outside the ceremony, which is due to take place in the Salle Pleyel concert hall in central Paris this year.
Laurence Rossignol, France’s Minister for Families, Children and Women, declared she was “shocked” by the academy’s decision to Polanksi. The country’s Minister of Culture Audrey Azoulay refused