Famous French director Christophe Ruggia who made international headlines when he was accused by Adele Haenel of sexually assaulting her between the age of 12 and 15 has now been arrested and his home searched by investigators.
Prosecutors announced that the director was questioned by police yesterday and his home was reportedly searched in a case that has stunned the French film industry after the actress confessed that she found the strength to come forwards after being inspired by HBO’s documentary about Michael Jackson, Leaving Neverland.
At the time, Haenel stated she wanted to “denounce the system of silence and complicity that makes this possible.”
Christophe Ruggia has reportedly been held on accusations of sexual assault and for the harassment of a minor by a person in authority, Paris prosecutors confirmed to local media. It is unclear if he has been released.
The allegations made by French actress Adele Haenel appeared on 3rd November 2019. She accuses him of “touching” her and “sexually harassing” her when she was a minor working on his 2002 film Les Diables (The Devils), which was her first film role.
Police opened an investigation on 6th November 2019 and at the end of the month the actress had filed a complaint against him.
The French Directors’ Guild (Societe des Realisateurs de Films, SRF) also promptly expelled him in the midst of the allegations.
The allegations concern incidents which are said to have taken place during filming, when she was just 13 years old. French media outlet Mediapart first broke the story, with Haenel denouncing the “influence” the director had had over her during preparation for filming.
Mediapart’s original investigation lasted six months and they interviewed over thirty people. Their report also states that they allegedly obtained documents including love letters from the director, seemingly substantiating the actress’ version of events.
Haenel also alleges that during filming, she was the victim of “permanent sexual harassment”, “touching” and “forced kissing on her neck” which reportedly took place at his home and during various international festivals when she was aged between 12 and 15.
The 54-year-old film director had at the time denied the allegations but said he had “made the mistake of having played pygmalions”, asking the actress to “forgive” him.
Pygmalion is a legendary figure in Greek mythology who was a king and a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved.
Oscar-winning French actress Marion Cotillard praised Haenel for “breaking a silence that was so heavy.”
Haenel is a six-time Cesar Award nominee and a two-time winner.
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