Luc Besson under investigation over rape allegation

French director denies ‘fantasist accusations’ that he drugged and raped woman

Photograph: Stefanie Loos/AFP/Getty Images

 

French police are investigating the film director Luc Besson after a 27-year-old woman filed a rape complaint against him.

The unnamed woman, a film actor, went to police on Friday morning alleging she had been raped by Besson, 59, in a Paris hotel on Thursday night.

Judicial sources confirmed to Agence France-Presse that a “complaint has been made for acts qualifying as rape”.

A lawyer for Besson, who is one of the most influential and highest-paid film directors in France, told AFP: “Luc Besson categorically denies these fantasist accusations. [The complainant] is someone he knows, towards whom he has never behaved inappropriately.”

The woman alleged that Besson drugged her before raping her at the exclusive Hôtel Le Bristol near the Champs Élysées in Paris, a judicial official told Associated Press.

Europe 1 radio, which broke the story, said Besson’s accuser alleged she had “drunk a cup of tea, then felt unwell and lost consciousness.” The station quoted her as claiming that when she came round she remembered being sexually assaulted.

Besson has not been questioned by police, a source told AFP.

Besson is a high-profile figure in French cinema and was France’s highest-paid director last year, earning more than €4m (£3.5m).

He won a César – the French equivalent of an Oscar – for his 1998 sci-fi film The Fifth Element and is known for his thrillers including Léon, featuring Natalie Portman. His 1980s film The Big Blue, about rivalry between divers, is regarded as a cult classic.

Besson, who has been vocal about raising the visibility of Paris’s poor suburbs in film, is also politically influential and succeeded in convincing authorities to modify tax rules to make it more attractive to shoot films in France.

Besson has been married four times, including to the film-maker and actor Maïwenn, whom he married when she was 16.

Details of the complaint against Besson emerged on the closing night of the Cannes film festival, where the issue of sexual misconduct in the film industry was a key theme of discussion and campaigning.

Source :

The Guardian

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