She accuses him of “touching” and “sexual harassment”, when she was between 12 and 15 years old, in a long investigation of Mediapart.
“He destroyed me.” The actress Adèle Haenel accuses the director Christophe Ruggia of“touching and sexual harassment” when she was 12 to 15 years old. In a long Mediapart survey (paying article) published Sunday and a video interview broadcast live, Monday, November 4, the twice-captioned actress describes a “isolation system” set up by the filmmaker, who gave him his first film role in Devils, released in 2002. Adele Haenel also explains why she chose to speak more than fifteen years later and why she never brought the case to justice.
1What does Adèle Haenel say?
For her investigation, the journalist of Mediapart Marine Turchi questioned at length Adèle Haenel, but also about twenty witnesses, who express themselves by name. The facts described go back to the shooting of the film Devils, who portrays the incestuous love of two runaway orphans, but continues several years later. Adele Haenel, 12 years old, was camping an autistic girl, walled in silence.
During the preparation and filming of the feature film, most interviewees describe a director “all powerful”, “Vampirizing”, “Invasive”. On the set, they notice a fusional relationship between the director and the very young actress, “beyond the purely professional”, in the words of a director. “Directors are often told that they must be in love with their actresses, but Adèle was twelve years old.he recalls again. “He was tactile, put his arms on his shoulders, sometimes kissed him “adds an actress.
Questions shake several professionals mobilized on the film, but the relationship between Christophe Ruggia and the 12-year-old actress “slip to something else”, according to the actress. Adele Haenel evokes “Fondling”, on the occasion of regular meetings, on weekends, in the director's apartment. He “clung to me, kissed my neck, smelled my hair, stroked my thigh down to my sex “she describes to Mediapart. The actress also evokes a hand passed under his shirt. A gesture that the director would have entrusted to his ex-companion, the director Mona Achache, who also testified to Mediapart.
I pushed him away, but that was not enough, I always had to change places.Mediapart
According to Adèle Haenel, the same gestures have been reproduced, behind closed doors, on the sidelines of international festivals, in Yokohama (Japan), Marrakech (Morocco) or Bangkok (Thailand). She also evokes the “declarations “ dChristophe Ruggia, in public, “in the holidays”, as well as “scenes of extreme jealousy”. The actress also remembers “Strategies” developed to escape“Fondling”.
This is the first time that the actress makes such precise accusations against the director. In 2010, during an interview, Adèle Haenel simply mentioned a situation of “stranglehold” which engendered “a relationship of power”.
– C to you (@ cavousf5) November 4, 2019
2Did the director answer?
Mediapart sent a list of 16 questions to Christophe Ruggia, who refused to answer. It's his lawyer Jean-Pierre Versini who finally answered Marine Turchi's inquiry. He denounces a reading of the facts “systematically tendentious, inaccurate, romanticized, sometimes slanderous ” and refutes “categorically having harassed or any kind of touching on this then minor girl”. “That there is an involuntary grip of the adult, director, is likely”, responded the lawyer Jean-Pierre Versini again to AFP, while repeating that the filmmaker “categorically denies touching and sexual harassment”.
“I'm shocked he's dying”responded Adele Haenel in the live broadcast by Mediapart on Monday. “I'm even more shocked by the fact that he says he 'discovered' me (as an actress)because, in fact, he mostly destroyed me. “ The person still has not reacted in person.
3Did Adele Haenel file a complaint?
The facts are not prescribed, since any victim of a sexual assault on a minor can complain until age 38. “I wanted to act (…) (But) I never thought about justice “, however, explains Adele Haenel, who believes that there is “systemic violence against women in the justice system”. She regrets that the attackers and the rapists are “so little” convicted. She adds : “Justice ignores us, we ignore justice. ”
I believe in justice, but it must challenge itself to be representative of society.Mediapart
“I understood that it was not just a private story, it was a public story”said Adèle Haenel, however. The actress says she was “very agitated” after watching the documentary Leaving Neverland dedicated to Michael Jackson. Now more famous than the man she accuses, and aware that she is “not in the same precariousness as most people to whom it happens “, the actress consider now having a “responsibility”, in the wake of the #MeToo movement: “He can not redo a movie with teenagers, I can not let him do that.”
#MeToo “Monsters do not exist, it's our society, it's us, it's our friends, it's our fathers, we're not there to eliminate them, we're here to change them . ” – Adèle Haenel, Monday night on #MediapartLive. https://t.co/eMsOyH5ryT pic.twitter.com/KHCWs6SoiM
– Mediapart (@Mediapart) November 5, 2019
4Does this testimony have consequences?
The Society of Film Directors (SRF), a professional association of filmmakers with some 300 members, reacted Monday by announcing the cancellation of Christophe Ruggia. The organization, of which the director has himself been president in the past, has expressed “his total support, his admiration and his gratitude to the actress Adèle Haenel, who had the courage to speak after so many years of silence”. “We want to tell him that we believe it and we take note of it immediately, without shirking our own responsibility,” the SRF continues in a statement.
– LaSRF (@ LaSRF1968) November 4, 2019