Polanski cancels visit to Polish film school over protests
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Polanski cancels visit to Polish film school over protests

Jewish director accused of rape was set to speak at Lodz institute, which had rejected online calls to withdraw invitation

French-Polish director Roman Polanski looks on on stage after the preview of his last movie 'J'accuse' (An Officer and a Spy) in Paris, November 4, 2019. (Thomas SAMSON/AFP)
French-Polish director Roman Polanski looks on on stage after the preview of his last movie 'J'accuse' (An Officer and a Spy) in Paris, November 4, 2019. (Thomas SAMSON/AFP)

WARSAW, Poland — Director Roman Polanski cancelled a visit planned for Saturday to a film school in his native Poland after students objected to his presence because of rape allegations against him.

“At the request of Roman Polanski, the meeting at the cinema school in Lodz, which was to take place on Saturday November 30, has been cancelled,” the school said in a brief statement.

The 86-year-old Jewish French-Polish director was at the Cinergia European Cinema Forum in Lodz on Friday where he received a “rebellious filmmaker” award. His latest film “An Officer and a Spy” was also screened.

At Friday’s event, school director Mariusz Grzegorzek had said “99 percent of the students are awaiting his visit.”

The school, once attended by Polanski, earlier had rejected as “inappropriate” an online petition calling for his visit to be cancelled.

The appeal, which had been signed by 116 people as of Thursday, cited “at least five accusations” against him.

The filmmaker pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in California in 1977, in a plea deal after he was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl.

But he fled the United States before sentencing and has maintained his career as a renowned director in Europe.

Earlier this month, French photographer Valentine Monnier accused Polanski of raping her in 1975 when she was 18 after beating her at his Swiss chalet.

Polanski denies the allegation, and has threatened to sue.

The latest accusation sparked protests at cinemas in France showing his new film.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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