what we know about the rape charges against the “Almond Trees” actor

He shares the film’s headliner The Almond Trees, directed by Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, released in theaters November 16 to critical acclaim. The actor Sofiane Bennacer, aged 25, however, finds himself in the light for something else since November 22: his indictments for rape and violence against ex-spouses.

While the latter disputes the facts and received the support of the director of the film on Friday, The world comes back to what we know about this case.

Accused by four former companions, the actor is triple indicted

Sofiane Bennacer was indicted in October by the Mulhouse prosecutor’s office (Haut-Rhin) for alleged rape of two former companions and for “violence on a spouse” concerning a third, said the public prosecutor Edwige Roux -Morizot on Tuesday, confirming information from Parisian. The actor has also been placed under the status of assisted witness in the context of a fourth complaint filed by another ex-companion, who accuses him of rape.

The facts alleged occurred “between 2018 and 2019” in Mulhouse, Strasbourg and Paris, and the presumed victims evolve “in the theater world”detailed Mme Roux Morizot. According The Parisianthe actor knew one of his accusers at the theater school La Filature, in Mulhouse, where “the couple would have formed”. The alleged victims “describe an affair under the influence, during which non-consensual relations would have taken place”writes the daily.

Read also: Actor Sofiane Bennacer indicted for rape and violence against former companions

The National Theater of Strasbourg (TNS), the school where Sofiane Bennacer had been admitted in 2019, had seized the Ministry of Culture for facts “ gender-based and sexual violence and harassment, including [il] had been informed”, according to the newspaper. The ministry then made a report to the courts, said Ms.me Roux-Morizot, without specifying the date. Benjamin Morel, administrator of the TNS, told Agence France-Presse on Wednesday that it is then the young actor himself “ who made the decision to resign on February 19, 2021”.

The Mulhouse prosecutor said on Tuesday that the actor has been placed under judicial supervision since his indictment, at the request of the prosecution. He is forbidden to go to the Paris region, to Strasbourg as well as to Mulhouse. Mr. Bennacer is also prohibited from meeting the complainants as well as the witnesses in the case, including Mr.me Bruni-Tedeschi, who would, according to the prosecutor, be quoted by Release, the current ” companion “ of the comedian.

The Académie des Césars has withdrawn its name from the “revelations”

On Wednesday evening, the Académie des Césars announced the withdrawal of the actor’s name from the list of male revelations 2023, considering that “the information published by the press (…) ordered, without prejudice to the presumption of innocence and out of respect for the alleged victims, to remove him from the list..

The institution of French cinema also specified that it was beginning “a reflection in order to consider a modification of the regulations which govern the organization of the Césars ceremony, which does not provide, to date, the hypothesis of a legal challenge of a participant in an eligible film ».

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers 5 years after #metoo, the advances and limits of prevention in cinema, theater or dance

The actor proclaims his innocence

Sofiane Bennacer reacted on Wednesday, in a long message posted on Instagram, claiming her innocence: “Does the presumption of innocence still exist? Or are we in a state of lawlessness, a state where the simple baseless accusation can destroy a life? “.

Denouncing ” false testimonies”he added : “I may be boycotted by the cinema. Either way, I got humiliated to the core of my soul. (…) I’m going to be free in a few months, because I haven’t done anything. (…) If there was any evidence against me, not just bogus testimony, real evidence, I would already be in jail. »

Faced with these denials, Grégoire Mehl and Anne Lassalle, lawyers for one of the plaintiffs, announced that their client “maintains in full the comments and positions already expressed before the investigating services”.

An “omerta” during the filming of “Amandiers”?

But what happened on the set of the film? Did everyone know? According to a survey published by Release Thursday, in which the newspaper explains that it interviewed around thirty people, including around fifteen professionals present during the filming, it would have taken place in a climate of« omerta “, as the director wanted to work with Sofiane Bennacer, described as her” heart stroke ” artistic.

Made in the summer of 2021, the film very quickly saw rumors arise about sexual violence allegedly committed by Mr. Bennacer, who occupies the first male role in the film. Work-study trainees and trainees who learned of a first complaint say they alerted the director three days after the start of filming. Mme Bruni-Tedeschi would then have assembled the team to defend the actor in his absence, “ like every time his case will be discussed on the set “. One of the witnesses of Release advance : “ She told us that Sofiane must not feel that the team knew about it or that it would change our behavior. »

After the resignation of two people, a leaden screed settles, according to Releasearound a secret which he does not[ut] do not talk ” : the production and the director maintain the actor at all costs, and the rumors, although reinforced by the filing of complaints, are relegated to their simple rank.

Patrick Sobelman, one of the two producers of the film, reacted Friday morning to the publication of this survey. “At no time did the production know before hiring him, and at no time did the production orchestrate the slightest omerta to ensure that nothing came out of this story”he declared on France Inter, specifying that“it was absolutely impossible to stop filming and fire Sofiane for a very simple reason: we had no legal basis to do that”.

“Nothing reprehensible happened during the entire filming of the film”he continued, while acknowledging that there may have been “there was a complicated atmosphere for some because they found themselves in a situation they hadn’t wanted and that cast doubt, a shadow”. “We learned of his indictment a month ago [et] that there were four different complaints. It’s not the same thing: we didn’t know and we learned it at the same time as everyone else.”he repeated.

Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi denounces a media “lynching”

The director of the film The Almond Trees came out of silence on Friday to denounce a “media lynching”after the publication of the survey of Release.

“To this day, everyone knows that he has not been judged, and such a process is, in my opinion, pure media lynching, a process far removed from a desire to inform objectively and impartially. », writes Valéria Bruni-Tedeschi in a press release. She says to herself “outraged that a newspaper like Release can trample the presumption of innocence to such an extent”.

However, the latter confirms having had ” knowledge “ of the “rumors” which the young actor was the subject of during filming. “My producers expressed fears and reluctance, but I told them that these rumors did not stop me and that I could not consider making the film without him”she says, emphasizing that she was “Artistically impressed by Sofiane Bennacer from the first second of the casting” of his movie.

“Later, we learned that a complaint had been filed”, she explains again. About the alleged victims, the actress claims to have “an immense respect for the liberation of women’s speech”but she insists on the ” presumption of innocence “ confident that she was herself “abused in [son] childhood “ and claiming to know “the pain of not having been taken seriously”.

Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi then received support from her sister, Carla Bruni. In a long post on Instagram, the wife of Nicolas Sarkozy reacted on Friday to defend the ” presumption of innocence ” and bring his “full and absolute support for [sa] sister “, going directly to Release.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers “Les Amandiers”, by Bruni Tedeschi: at the school of Patrice Chéreau, an avant-garde dream space

The actress and dancer Andréa Bescond, director of the film The Tickling – where she returns to the sexual violence of which she was the victim as a child – replied to Carla Burni at the microphone of LCI. She directly supported the alleged victims and launched: “She’s a cardboard feminist. (…) I answered [en commentaire à sa publication] saying that we needed a little respect for the victims, they are still four, there are indictments. »

The World with AFP

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