50:50 Future, the French feminist and advocacy group promoting gender parity, has been hit by a sexual assault complaint against one of the org’s core members.
The alleged incident occurred on March 11 during a dinner party organized by the group in a Paris apartment. Around 40 people were in attendance. According to French news agency AFP, which quoted a police report, the alleged victim, who is an actress, told police that a female producer on the board of the org touched her hair and shoved her hand between her thighs during a tense exchange. She said she “froze for two or three seconds and took her hand and pushed it back violently.”
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Following the complaint, the accused was taken into custody by police and questioned, according to a source close to the case. She admitted to having touched the alleged victim’s hair but denied the other claim.
A preliminary investigation was conducted by the Paris prosecutor’s office, and a judge has set a Sept. 14 hearing date before the criminal court.
In the wake of the incident, a board meeting was organized on March 13 to discuss 50:50’s response to the event. Following this meeting, seven members resigned from the org, including two of its three co-presidents, Julie Billy and Laurence Lascary, who are both producers. Another prominent member, Aissa Maiga, an actor and filmmaker, also resigned.
Some departing members said they felt that the org lacked transparency and that its planned response to the incident only served the interest of the person accused rather than its alleged victim, who has less power and status in the industry, therefore perpetuating the injustices that the org has been fighting against.
The accused producer immediately resigned from 50:50, according to a source close to the org. It’s believed that 50:50 is also paying for the alleged victim’s legal fees.
Variety reached out to members of 50:50 for comment, but did not hear back by press time.
Formerly named 5050 for 2020, the advocacy group was created when the #MeToo movement took shape in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. It was a driving force behind the gender parity pledge signed by the Cannes Film Festival in 2018, and most other major international film festivals around the world.
Back in France, the org also worked hand in hand with the National Film Board — whose president Dominique Boutonnat has been accused of sexual assault and could face a criminal court — to set workshops to prevent sexual harassment in the film and TV industry.
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