A group of protesters demonstrating against what they called the “rape culture” of the Venice Film Festival marched past the festival’s red carpet during the world premiere of Woody Allen’s Coup de Chance.
The group of around 20 people shouted slogans like “no rape culture”; “we are speaking for those without a voice against the director predators”; “a rapist is not a sick man, he is the healthy son of patriarchy”; “No spotlight for rapist directors”; and “the alpha male doesn’t exist.”
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The protestors began their demonstration just as Allen stepped onto the red carpet of his film. They stopped shortly past the carpet, forming a line and taking off their shirts before chanting more.
The demonstration lasted only a few minutes before they were led out of the festival area by police. One of the demonstators, who gave their name as Melania, told The Hollywood Reporter they were protesting “the rape culture of this festival, which celebrates men accused of assault, while we have an epidemic of femicide in our country.”
Another protestor, Martha, who is part of a group of social trans-feminist collectives from Venice and helped stage the protest, also spoke to THR.
“We decided to protest the decision of the film festival to invite not one but three directors that have, all together, 17 sexual assault allegations against them,” Martha said. “We are talking about powerful and influential white men, which the justice system tends to treat with indulgence,” adding, “What we really want is to send a message that inviting these men to the festival sends a message that normalizes and emphasizes rape culture and makes victims invisible.”
The demonstration comes a day after banners reading “Island of rapists,” “No Golden Lion for predators,” “Sexist cinema/feminist response” were posted all around the Lido on Sunday, protesting Allen and Roman Polanski.
Another banner displayed at the festival accused it of being “80 years behind” as the Biennale celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. Another questioned, “Will the Golden Lion go to a rapist?” referring to Polanski’s The Palace, which is up for the festival’s top prize.
Martha explained that her group was not behind the banner protest but that a French-Parisian group, with which her collective was in contact, carried out that action. She called on the festival to introduce a “clear code of ethics” that would prevent filmmakers facing sexual assault charges from screening films.
At the festival on Saturday, Spanish actor Gabriel Guevara, who had an active international warrant out on him, was arrested for an alleged sexual assault that took place in France. The Venice police took him into custody a day before he was set to receive the best young actor award from Filming Italy, which canceled the honor upon his arrest.
Christy Piña contributed to this story.
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) September 4, 2023
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