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Roman Polanski didn’t defame actress who said he raped her as a teen: French court


Roman Polanksi didn’t defame a British actress he said was lying when she accused him of sexually abusing her as a teenager, a French court ruled Tuesday.

Charlotte Lewis, 56, has alleged the “Chinatown” director raped her in Paris in 1983, during a casting call for his film “Pirates.”

Lewis, who was 16 at the time, came forward with the accusations in 2010 at a press conference in Cannes, saying Polanski had sexually abused her “in the worst possible way.”

The controversial filmmaker — who fled the U.S. to his native France in 1978 months after he was arrested for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl — strongly rebutted Lewis’ allegations.

British actress Charlotte Lewis talks to the media as she arrives at the Batignolles district courthouse for the judgement in lawsuit against filmmaker Franco-Polish Roman Polanski defamed her after she accused him of sexual abuse in the 1980s, in Paris, on May 14, 2024. French court acquitted French-Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski of defaming British actor Charlotte Lewis after she accused him of raping her in the 1980s when she was a teenager, on May 14, 2024. (THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images)
British actress Charlotte Lewis talks to the media as she arrives at the Batignolles district courthouse for the judgement in lawsuit against filmmaker Franco-Polish Roman Polanski defamed her after she accused him of sexual abuse in the 1980s, in Paris, on May 14, 2024. French court acquitted French-Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski of defaming British actor Charlotte Lewis after she accused him of raping her in the 1980s when she was a teenager, on May 14, 2024. (THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images)

In a 2019 interview with Paris Match magazine, Polanski called the accusations a “heinous lie.” He also cited a 1999 News of the World interview with the actress in which she was quoted as saying she “wanted to be his mistress” and that she desired the director more than he had wanted her.

Lewis then sued the director for defamation, questioning the accuracy of those quotes.

In March, the actress told a criminal court in Paris that, after she went public with the accusations, her then-6-year-old son was forced to change schools because of the ensuing media coverage.

She also said she had been subjected to a “smear campaign.”

Following Tuesday’s verdict, Lewis said she felt “sad” about the outcome and would appeal.

“For us, it’s not over,” she told reporters.

Polanksi,90, wasn’t present for the hearing. His lawyer Delphine Meillet celebrated the ruling as a “victory for the rights of the defense.

The director of “The Pianist,” for which he won an Academy Award for directing in 2003, remains a fugitive from the U.S. legal system. He has faced several other accusations of sexual assault.

With News Wire Services

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