Dominique Boutonnat, president of France’s powerful National Film Board (CNC), is being sued for attempted rape and sexual assault by his 22-year-old godson. He has been held in custody since Wednesday morning.
The news was first reported by news channel BFM TV. The complaint was filed by Boutonnat’s godson on Oct. 7 and the alleged sexual assault occurred in August during a holiday in Greece.
“Dominique Boutonnat contests having committed any wrongdoing, he is fully serene about the outcome of this procedure,” Boutonnat’s lawyer Emmanuel Marsigny told the AFP. The Nanterre prosecutor told Le Figaro newspaper that Boutonnat’s custody could end on Thursday or Friday.
Variety has contacted the CNC for comment.
The org 50/50, whose mandate is to help victims of sexual violence and increase gender parity and diversity in the industry, has demanded that Boutonnat step down from his position for the time being, so that “justice can carry on with the procedure.”
“The collective 50/50 reminds the importance of respecting two presumptions: the presumption of innocence and the presumption of truth and sincerity of the alleged victims,” said the org in a statement posted on Twitter.
The 51-year old Boutonnat was appointed president of the CNC in July 2019 and initially faced a widespread backlash within the industry due his close ties with President Emmanuel Macron and his background as a producer and financier.
This accusation, however, comes as a shock, because the CNC has, under Boutonnat’s leadership, played an important role in setting up guidelines to fight against sexual harassment in the industry.
The day before the complaint was filed, on Oct. 6, Boutonnat appeared at an event co-organized by the org 50/50 and the European Association Against Violence Towards Women in the Workplace, during which he made a speech addressing the need for industry workers to speak out about abuse without fear of losing their jobs during the pandemic.
The news broke on a big day for the French film biz as Cesar Awards nominations — France’s biggest film honors — were also announced on Wednesday morning.
The allegations are the latest in a string of sex abuse scandals that have broken since the beginning of the year. Popular French actor Richard Berry was accused of incest by his daughter earlier this month, while prominent French political expert Olivier Duhamel was accused of sexually abusing his stepson in a book written by his stepdaughter Camille Kouchner last month.