Petition Calling For Dismissal Of France’s CNC Head Clocks 500+ Signatures On First Day

EXCLUSIVE: A petition calling for Dominique Boutonnat — the President of France’s cinema board — to be dismissed is rapidly circulating among French industry professionals and has clocked over 500 signatures in its first few hours of publication.

The petition was launched by an anonymous group of activists Sunday afternoon who have said they belong to several French industry unions, including Collectif 50/50 and CGT Spectacle. The petition is private, so it is not possible to see who has signed. But the total number now sits at 523. We understand members of the unofficial collective are also discussing whether to escalate their efforts with talks of launching a physical protest outside the CNC tomorrow in Paris currently on the table.

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“We, artists and technicians, members of associations such as Collectif 50/50, ADA, ARDA, DIVE+, CGT Spectacle, producers, and other professionals outside unions and associations, but all equally indignant, demand the withdrawal of Dominique Boutonnat from the presidency of the CNC,” the petition reads.

The petition continues to make reference to two recent articles in the French newspaper Libération, which explore the legal trial Boutonnat is set to face in June over sexual assault allegations.

Boutonnat has been under investigation for two years after being indicted in February 2021 for an alleged sexual assault. In September 2022, the case was taken to trial. Boutonnat denies all charges.

“If Dominique Boutonnat benefits from the presumption of innocence, it nevertheless seems essential to us that our main institution sets an example,” the petition reads.

“At a time when we are questioning our practices, and when a commission of inquiry into sexist and sexual violence and harassment in our professions has just been voted on, we regret that the incongruity of this situation ends up definitively discrediting his action and the proposals he is about to make.”

The petition ends: “The whole of society is watching us. Our progress, our revolutions will benefit everyone. Let’s live up to it.”

Boutonnat was first appointed CNC President in 2019. France’s government then gave him a second term in 2022 — after his indictment. The controversial appointment came after France’s new Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak expressed her support for him. His current term runs down next year.

The petition comes 48 hours out from the start of this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The festival is also set to face disruptions this year as the Precarious Film Festival Workers Collective, an unofficial union representing French film festival workers, including those working for Cannes, set plans to launch a strike over pay.

The Cannes Film Festival runs May 14-25.

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