Adele Haenel, the star of critically-acclaimed French feature film Portrait of a Lady on Fire, has accused a filmmaker of sexual harassment on the set of The Devils when she was 12.
According to Deadline, Haenel told Paris-based journal Mediapart that she worked with director Christophe Ruggia on 2002 film “The Devils” when she was 12 and during its making, he made advances towards her.
The 30-year-old actor said the filmmaker continued harassing her until she was 15.
Haenel claimed that Ruggia would often touch her on “thighs and torso and “forced kisses on the neck”. She added that such acts continued during her travels to the film festivals for the movie’s promotion.
She further said her decision to come out with her story stems from watching the HBO’s Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland, which chronicles the tales of molestation by Jackson’s alleged victims.
Though Haenel will not be taking any legal action against Ruggia, her aim is to “denounce the system of silence and complicity that makes this (conduct) possible”.
In his response, Huggia said he “categorically refutes” Haenel’s accusations.
The director sent a statement to the outlet, saying that the pair had a “professional and affectionate relationship” and calls the reporting “slanderous”.