The Cannes Film Festival kicks off Tuesday, but has already stepped in it yet again with another Riviera scandale.
The French fest proudly announced last month it had upped the number of female filmmakers on the docket this year, as it looks to distance itself from such past Cannes fixtures as Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski, Lars von Trier and Brett Ratner — as well as alleged #MeToo and sex trafficking incidents — plus the festival’s own rumored policy that forced women attendees to wear high heels at all red-carpet premieres.
Now the festival has sparked outrage by choosing to honor French actor Alain Delon with its highest award.
In Vanity Fair Italia in 2013, Delon’s son alleged his father had given his mom eight broken ribs and broke her nose twice. Delon denied the claims, saying, “These are insanities.”
However, the 1960s sex symbol, who’s been called the “male Brigitte Bardot,” also gave an interview stating he’s been “macho” with women in his life, saying, “If a slap is macho, yes, I had to be macho, but I’ve also had slaps, even from women!” Delon’s also received backlash after coming out against same-sex couples adopting, commenting, “It’s against nature,” and reportedly supports the French National Front.
Despite calls to rescind Delon’s award, including an online petition, Cannes boss Thierry Frémaux on Monday defended the fest’s decision, saying, “We are not going to give Alain Delon the Nobel Peace Prize. We’re giving him a Palme d’Or for his career as an actor.”
Frémaux admitted that Delon “has said things and he has the right to express his opinion, not that I agree with him . . . Obviously, the Cannes Film Festival condemns [the remarks], but it doesn’t condemn freedom of expression.”
Delon will be honored on Sunday.
Others who’ve been given the honor include controversial director Woody Allen. The fest launched an abuse and harassment hotline last year.
Meanwhile, the Hollywood Reporter wrote on Monday that film pros arriving at the festival this week are fearing a measles outbreak and feverishly getting vaccinations and booster shots.
The magazine reported: “Given the convergence of 40,000 people for the festival, who pack into crowded movie theaters . . . Cannes is especially vulnerable. Contingents from countries that are battling current outbreaks — including Japan, Israel and Ukraine — will be on hand at the festival.”
THR also reported in a separate piece that Cannes has a sex-trafficking problem, involving unknown international actresses who are discovered in Cannes and lured to Hollywood for small film roles, only to be “lent out” sexually to men.
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