Actress Adele Haenel, who is best known for her roles in films like Portrait of a Lady on Fire and The Trouble With You among others has officially filed a police complaint against director Christopher Ruggia after accusing him of sexual harassment back in June 2019. Haenel claimed that she was sexually harassed by Ruggia when she was 12 years old.
According to a report in Variety, the information about filing a complaint on Tuesday was confirmed by Haenel’s lawyers to the investigative website Mediapart, which first published Haenel’s allegations of sexual harassment and unwanted touching by Ruggia in a bombshell article published Nov. 3.
Ruggia denies Haenel’s accusations. He directed her in her first movie, the 2002 drama The Devils. Haenel, 30, said in the original Mediapart story that she did not intend to file a police complaint because she knew the French justice system was highly inefficient when it comes to protecting women against violence and sexual offenses.
A few days after the story’s publication, however, the Paris prosecutor proactively opened a preliminary investigation into Ruggia. The Paris prosecutor’s office told Variety then that it had “opened a preliminary investigation into sexual aggression against a minor by a person of authority and sexual harassment.”
Haenel was interviewed by police officers Tuesday as part of the investigation launched by the Paris prosecutor. Haenel told Mediapart she decided to take legal action against Ruggia mainly because she found his denials “unbearable.” She said his denials of her allegations reinforced “the feeling of impunity in which he lives and the feeling of injustice in which I’ve been living for 18 years.”
Ruggia was almost immediately expelled from the SRF, the French directors’ guild, after the original story in Mediapart.