Cannes Film Festival faces new era after #MeToo tectonic shift

CANNES, France (Reuters) – The Cannes Film Festival is taking place for the first time since sexual harassment allegations shocked the global movie industry and led to the creation of the “Me Too” movement to demand greater respect for and representation of women.

71st Cannes Film Festival – Cannes, France, May 7, 2018. Cate Blanchett, President of the 71st Cannes Film Festival, arrives at the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez on the eve of the opening of the festival. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Organisers of the May 9-18 event have set up a telephone hotline for victims of harassment, and several discussion groups are addressing the issue during the fortnight. Stars are using the festival as a platform to speak out.

Here is a timeline of some of the main events since last October. In most cases those accused of sexual harassment or abuse have denied the allegations:

Oct. 5 – The New York Times reports that media mogul Harvey Weinstein made eight settlements with women who had accused him of unwanted physical contact and sexual harassment over three decades. Weinstein’s spokeswoman says he denies any allegations of non-consensual sex.

Oct. 6 – Weinstein takes indefinite leave from Weinstein Co of which he is co-chairman with his brother, Bob. He later resigns.

Oct. 9 – Meryl Streep, who likened Weinstein to God in a 2012 awards speech, calls his alleged actions “inexcusable” and Judi Dench, who once joked she had a tattoo of the producer’s face, called them “horrifying”. Both said they were unaware of his decades of alleged sexual harassment of women.

Oct. 10 – The New Yorker reports allegations by 13 women that Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, including three who said they had been raped.

Oct. 11 -Weinstein is suspended from the British film academy BAFTA.

Oct. 12 -Amazon Studios chief Roy Price is put on an immediate leave of absence following allegations he harassed producer Isa Hackett and ignored an actress’s claim of sexual assault by Weinstein. He later resigns. Price has not made any public comment.

Oct. 14 – The Academy of Motion Pictures expels Weinstein who had pushed many of his movies to Oscar glory and himself won one for producing “Shakespeare in Love”. He made no comment

Oct. 15 – Actress Alyssa Milano asks her Twitter followers to reply “Me Too” if they had ever been sexually harassed or assaulted. Million of women across the world share their experiences using the hashtag #MeToo.

Oct. 20 – Gender Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa says France will get serious about sexual harassment. “We are really at a turning point, with the Weinstein affair as a trigger.”

Oct. 30 – BuzzFeed publishes accusations by actor Anthony Rapp that movie star Kevin Spacey made sexual advances on him when he was 14, 30 years ago. Spacey apologises and comes out as gay. Spacey is dropped from the final season of the Netflix political drama “House of Cards”.

Nov. 1 – Dustin Hoffman responds to an allegation of sexual harassment by a teenage intern on a film set more than 30 years ago: “I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation. I am sorry.”

Nov. 8 – The makers of “All the Money in the World”, about tycoon John Paul Getty directed by Ridley Scott, announce Spacey will be replaced from the lead role which he had already shot for the movie. Scenes are reshot with Christopher Plummer taking his place.

Nov. 9 – The New York Times reports sexual misconduct allegations against comedian Louis C.K. The next day, the distributor of his film “I Love You Daddy” scraps its release. The comedian admits the allegations are true and expresses his remorse.

Nov. 12 – Reuters reports on allegations of sexual abuse in the Indian film industry.

Nov. 16 – London’s Old Vic theater says it has received 20 separate allegations of inappropriate conduct by its former artistic director Kevin Spacey between 1995 and 2013 from 20 men. Spacey has not commented on the allegations.

Jan. 1 – Launch of the multi-million dollar Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund to help support legal cases against alleged perpetrators of sexual harassment.

Jan. 4 – Cate Blanchett, a campaigner against sexual harassment following the Weinstein scandal, is announced as head of the main jury at the Cannes Film Festival.

Jan. 7 – Nominees, presenters and guests at the Golden Globes awards wear black in support of sexual harassment victims. Host Seth Meyers addresses the scandal head-on with jokes and barbed comments. Stars including Jessica Chastain, Reese Witherspoon and Oprah Winfrey use the event to address sexual harassment. Frances McDormand says they are all part of “a tectonic shift in our industry’s power structure”.

FILE PHOTO – Harvey Weinstein, Co-Chairman of the Weinstein Company, kicks off the Film Finance Circle conference with an informal discussion at the inaugural Middle East International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi, October 15, 2007. REUTERS/Steve Crisp (United Arab Emirates)

Jan. 9 -Actress Catherine Deneuve and 99 other French women call the #Metoo campaign – known in France as #balancetonporc (SquealOnYourPig) – a form of puritanism fueled by “hatred of men.” French feminists respond by saying: “they are trying to build back the wall of silence we have started breaking down.”

Jan. 11 – LA Times reports five women have accused actor James Franco of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior. Franco calls the allegations “inaccurate”.

Silvio Berlusconi, who resigned as Italy’s prime minister over his “Bunga Bunga” parties with young women and under investigation into sex with an underage prostitute, says Deneuve’s comments on #MeToo were “blessed words”. “It’s natural that women are happy if a man tries to seduce them,” he says in a television interview.

Jan. 18 – French former actress Brigitte Bardot tells Paris Match that most complaints of sexual harassment by actresses are “hypocritical, ridiculous and pointless”.

Jan. 19 – The Producers Guild of America drafts guidelines aimed at preventing sexual harassment, recommending anti-harassment training for cast and crew and urging producers to conduct meetings and casting sessions in a “professional, safe and comfortable” environment.

Jan. 27 – The Academy of Motion Pictures announces a mechanism for people to report misconduct. “This is only a small step toward the larger goal of encouraging workplace environments that support creativity, equality, and respect, and align with the Academy’s mission.”

Feb. 15 – Amazon Studios announces it has dropped Jeffrey Tambor from “Transparent”, for which he won an Emmy for his portrayal of a transgender character. Tambor calls allegations of sexual harassment false.

Feb. 28 – More than 100 actresses and film professionals in France, including Vanessa Paradis and Diane Kruger, launch their own movement against sexual violence, and say they will sport white ribbons at a French awards event.

March 4 – The first Oscars ceremony since the scandal broke salutes the #MeToo movement with calls for an end to sexual harassment and greater inclusion of ethnic minorities in filmmaking.

Best Actress winner Frances McDormand asks all female nominees to stand up.

“We all have stories to tell and projects we need financed. Don’t talk to us about it at the parties tonight. Invite us into your office in a couple days or you can come to ours, whichever suits you best, and we can tell you all about them,” she says in a speech which calls for “inclusion riders” – clauses in movie contracts to improve racial and gender equality.

April 16 – The New York Times and the New Yorker magazine receive a Pulitzer Prize for their reports on sexual harassment and abuse in Hollywood, politics, the media and Silicon Valley.

May 2 – Before Cannes, Cate Blanchett says in an interview with Variety: “Women have said, ‘The window is open now — see how sweet the air smells.’ I feel like the dam has broken.”

May 3 – The Academy of Motion Pictures expels comedian Bill Cosby and Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski, the first known members expelled for violating a code of conduct adopted in December.

Cosby, 80, was convicted a week earlier of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004 and faces up to 30 years in prison. Cosby’s lawyers say he plans to appeal.

Polanski, 84, admitted having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles in the 1970s. The French-Polish director lives in France after fleeing the United States following pleading guilty, for fear his deal with prosecutors would be overruled. The case in Los Angeles is still open and the United States has made several unsuccessful attempts to extradite Polanski to serve time.

He was on the red carpet in Cannes last year presenting his movie “Based on a True Story”.

On the Academy’s decision, Polanski’s attorney Harland Braun says: “It’s just shocking that the Academy would expel someone without a fair hearing.” A Cosby representative did not respond to a request seeking comment.

May 4 – The Swedish Academy which decides the Nobel Prize for Literature says it will not make the award this year because of a sexual misconduct scandal that has led to a string of board members stepping down.

May 12 – Cate Blanchett leads a demonstration by female actors, directors and producers on the red carpet to support the campaign for women’s rights.

Reporting by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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