Adele Haenel: French film industry rocked by childhood sexual harassment allegations against director Christophe Ruggia.

The French film industry is reeling after an allegation by award-winning actor Adele Haenel, who says she was sexually harassed from the ages of 12-15 by director Christophe Ruggia.

Haenel, who stars in forthcoming drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire, made the accusation in an extensive interview with French website Mediapart, and said that the Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland had encouraged her to speak out.

She claims the sexual harassment began after she was cast in Ruggia’s 2002 film The Devils.

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After the allegations were made public, Ruggia issued a statement via his lawyers that he “categorically refutes” any misconduct, and claimed the pair’s relationship was “professional and affectionate”. However, he admitted to “errors” in his conduct towards Haenel.

“I did not see that my adulation for her, and the hopes that I placed in her, might – given her young age – come across at times as irksome. If this is what happened... I ask for her pardon,” he said.

“My social exclusion is now underway, and there is nothing I can do to escape it.”

Metoo movement – in pictures

Show all 24

2017
2018
2017
2018

Metoo movement – in pictures

2017

1/24 2017

A picture shows the messages "#Me too" and #Balancetonporc ("expose your pig") on the hand of a protester during a gathering against gender-based and sexual violence called by the Effronte-e-s Collective, on the Place de la Republique square in Paris

AFP/Getty

2018

2/24 2018

Italian actress Asia Argento (C) and US singer and actress Rose McGowan, who both accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, take part in a march organised by 'Non Una Di Meno' (Me too) movement as part of the International Women's Day in Rome

AFP/Getty

2017

3/24 2017

Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse and their supporters protest during a #MeToo march in Hollywood, California

AFP/Getty

2018

4/24 2018

South Korean women staging a monthly protest against secretly-filmed spycam pornography in Seoul. Since May 2018, the monthly demonstrations against secretly-filmed spycam pornography in Seoul has shattered records to become the biggest-ever women's protest in South Korea where the global #MeToo movement has unleashed an unprecedented wave of female-led activism

AFP/Getty

2017

5/24 2017

Swedish MEP Linnéa Engström sits behind a placard placed on her desk that reads "Me too" during a debate about combating sexual harassment and abuse in the EU at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

AFP/Getty

2018

6/24 2018

Activists participate in front of the Brandenburg Gate in a demonstration for women's rights in Berlin

Getty

2018

7/24 2018

A McDonald's employee holds a sign during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in Chicago

AFP/Getty

2018

8/24 2018

An activist participates in the 2018 #MeToo March in Hollywood

Getty

2018

9/24 2018

Women protest in New York

Getty

2018

10/24 2018

Women hold a banner reading "still feminist" with the Eiffel tower in background

AFP/Getty

2017

11/24 2017

French activist Jean-Baptiste Redde, aka Voltuan, holds a placard as protesters take part in a gathering against gender-based and sexual violence in Paris

AFP/Getty

2018

12/24 2018

Activists and advocates for survivors of sexual abuse, including Democratic candidate for Illinois governor at the time JB Prtizker (left), gather in the Federal Building Plaza to protest the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Chicago, Illinois after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted out Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and agreed to an additional week of investigation into accusations of sexual assault against him before the full Senate votes on his confirmation. Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both teens

Getty

2018

13/24 2018

A group describing themselves as #MeToo/#YoTambien survivors, hold a candlelight vigil outside the Mexico Consulate to support the women taking part in the human caravan heading through Mexico to the US border

AFP/Getty

2017

14/24 2017

Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse and their supporters protest during a #MeToo march in Hollywood

AFP/Getty

2018

15/24 2018

South Korean demonstrators hold banners during a rally to mark International Women's Day

AFP/Getty

2018

16/24 2018

Dozens of women and men attend a rally and march in Washington Square Park for international Women's Day in New York

Getty

2017

17/24 2017

People carry signs addressing the issue of sexual harassment at a #MeToo rally outside of Trump International Hotel in New York

Getty

2017

18/24 2017

Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse and their supporters protest during a #MeToo march in Hollywood

AFP/Getty

2018

19/24 2018

South Korean demonstrators hold banners during a rally to mark International Women's Day

AFP/Getty

2018

20/24 2018

Dozens of protesters against the confirmation of Republican Supreme court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh gather outside of Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer's office on the afternoon that Professor Christine Blasey Ford testified against Kavanaugh in New York

Getty

2018

21/24 2018

Activists and advocates for survivors of sexual abuse gather in the Federal Building Plaza in Chicago

Getty

2018

22/24 2018

Dozens of women and men attend a rally and march in Washington Square Park

Getty

2017

23/24 2017

People carry signs addressing the issue of sexual harassment at a #MeToo rally outside of Trump International Hotel

Getty

2018

24/24 2018

Activists and advocates for survivors of sexual abuse gather in the Federal Building Plaza to protest the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Getty

2017

1/24 2017

A picture shows the messages "#Me too" and #Balancetonporc ("expose your pig") on the hand of a protester during a gathering against gender-based and sexual violence called by the Effronte-e-s Collective, on the Place de la Republique square in Paris

AFP/Getty

2018

2/24 2018

Italian actress Asia Argento (C) and US singer and actress Rose McGowan, who both accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, take part in a march organised by 'Non Una Di Meno' (Me too) movement as part of the International Women's Day in Rome

AFP/Getty

2017

3/24 2017

Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse and their supporters protest during a #MeToo march in Hollywood, California

AFP/Getty

2018

4/24 2018

South Korean women staging a monthly protest against secretly-filmed spycam pornography in Seoul. Since May 2018, the monthly demonstrations against secretly-filmed spycam pornography in Seoul has shattered records to become the biggest-ever women's protest in South Korea where the global #MeToo movement has unleashed an unprecedented wave of female-led activism

AFP/Getty

2017

5/24 2017

Swedish MEP Linnéa Engström sits behind a placard placed on her desk that reads "Me too" during a debate about combating sexual harassment and abuse in the EU at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

AFP/Getty

2018

6/24 2018

Activists participate in front of the Brandenburg Gate in a demonstration for women's rights in Berlin

Getty

2018

7/24 2018

A McDonald's employee holds a sign during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in Chicago

AFP/Getty

2018

8/24 2018

An activist participates in the 2018 #MeToo March in Hollywood

Getty

2018

9/24 2018

Women protest in New York

Getty

2018

10/24 2018

Women hold a banner reading "still feminist" with the Eiffel tower in background

AFP/Getty

2017

11/24 2017

French activist Jean-Baptiste Redde, aka Voltuan, holds a placard as protesters take part in a gathering against gender-based and sexual violence in Paris

AFP/Getty

2018

12/24 2018

Activists and advocates for survivors of sexual abuse, including Democratic candidate for Illinois governor at the time JB Prtizker (left), gather in the Federal Building Plaza to protest the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Chicago, Illinois after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted out Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and agreed to an additional week of investigation into accusations of sexual assault against him before the full Senate votes on his confirmation. Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both teens

Getty

2018

13/24 2018

A group describing themselves as #MeToo/#YoTambien survivors, hold a candlelight vigil outside the Mexico Consulate to support the women taking part in the human caravan heading through Mexico to the US border

AFP/Getty

2017

14/24 2017

Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse and their supporters protest during a #MeToo march in Hollywood

AFP/Getty

2018

15/24 2018

South Korean demonstrators hold banners during a rally to mark International Women's Day

AFP/Getty

2018

16/24 2018

Dozens of women and men attend a rally and march in Washington Square Park for international Women's Day in New York

Getty

2017

17/24 2017

People carry signs addressing the issue of sexual harassment at a #MeToo rally outside of Trump International Hotel in New York

Getty

2017

18/24 2017

Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse and their supporters protest during a #MeToo march in Hollywood

AFP/Getty

2018

19/24 2018

South Korean demonstrators hold banners during a rally to mark International Women's Day

AFP/Getty

2018

20/24 2018

Dozens of protesters against the confirmation of Republican Supreme court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh gather outside of Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer's office on the afternoon that Professor Christine Blasey Ford testified against Kavanaugh in New York

Getty

2018

21/24 2018

Activists and advocates for survivors of sexual abuse gather in the Federal Building Plaza in Chicago

Getty

2018

22/24 2018

Dozens of women and men attend a rally and march in Washington Square Park

Getty

2017

23/24 2017

People carry signs addressing the issue of sexual harassment at a #MeToo rally outside of Trump International Hotel

Getty

2018

24/24 2018

Activists and advocates for survivors of sexual abuse gather in the Federal Building Plaza to protest the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Getty

The six-month investigation included interviews with more than 30 people connected to Haenel and Ruggia, and also obtained love letters sent to Haenel by Ruggia.

Ruggia has since been dismissed from the Society of French Film Directors, for which Ruggia had served several terms as co-president.

A number of French film stars have also spoken out in support of Haenel, including Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard.

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“Adele, your courage is a gift of incomparable generosity.... You are breaking such a heavy silence,” Cotillard wrote in a post on Instagram.

Veronique Le Bris, who runs a website on women in film, said she believed Haenel’s accusation was a “turning point” for the film industry.

“It is the first time an internationally recognised actress, who is so highly esteemed, has opened up on the issue,” she said.

Haenel has refused to file a formal complaint, saying she does not trust the French judicial system. However, on the basis of her testimony, an investigation has been opened into “sexual aggression on a minor carried out by someone in authority”.

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