A month before the theatrical release of his new film “DogMan”, Luc Besson – found not guilty by the courts – speaks for the first time on the rape charges.
As his new film DogMan is selected in Competition at the 80th Venice Film Festival, French director Luc Besson speaks out for the first time on the rape charges in an exclusive interview with.
For the record, in May 2018, actress Sand Van Roy filed a complaint against Luc Besson, accusing the director of rape and sexual assault. After a confrontation between the two parties, the Paris prosecutor’s office closed the case without further action. The court ruled that “the offense complained of could not be characterized”. The actress then filed a new complaint with the seizure of an investigating judge, in order to relaunch the investigation. Two years later, in December 2021, a dismissal was pronounced in favor of Luc Besson, citing “the absence of any material element to support the complainant’s statements”.
On May 24, 2022, the Paris Court of Appeal confirmed the dismissal order. Me Antoine Gitton, lawyer for Sand Van Roy (with Me Francis Szpiner), had then launched an appeal in cassation. A year later, the Court of Cassation definitively dismissed Belgian-Dutch actress Sand Van Roy’s rape charges against Luc Besson. AFP relayed that the Court “in fact considered that there was” no means of a nature to allow the admission of the appeal “and therefore pronounced its non-admissibility.”
Luc Besson had never spoken before. While his new filmis due to be released in theaters on September 27 and that it has been selected in Competition at the 80th Venice Film Festival, and will be presented in preview at the Deauville American Film Festival where the filmmaker will also give a masterclass, the director French stage and producer speaks in the columns of Paris Match.
Asked about these accusations Luc Besson said: “Stunning at first prevailed, because I did not commit the crime of which I was accused. We find ourselves very helpless, faced with such a situation because it is sometimes difficult to prove one’s innocence. The investigation lasted five years, there were 31 witness hearings, toxicological, psychiatric, psychological expertise and nearly two thousand pages of file. Nothing was left to chance. And believe me, given the current period, if they had had the slightest doubt about my guilt, I would have been indicted a long time ago.“
“Justice has done its job and declared me not guilty four times”
The journalist relaunches the filmmaker, stating that the latter has never been indicted. Luc Besson then continues: “Based on all the information gathered, a judge decided not to indict me in 2019. Another judge issued a dismissal order in 2021. A third judge upheld this decision on appeal in 2022 and Finally, the highest French court rejected the appeal in cassation last June. We can speak of relentlessness, but justice did its job and declared me not guilty four times. The case is therefore closed.”
He adds : “Even if, for some, the mere fact of being accused imposes being guilty. As if being a man with a little power makes me a murderer. I have heard some say: ‘There was no not enough evidence!” But, on the contrary, justice has collected dozens of proofs of my innocence. No need to cry conspiracy, to lend me relationships that I do not have, it’s pure fantasy.”
Paris Match then returns to the handling of the case by the courts and the media. The director explains that he completely relied on justice: “It’s complicated to defend yourself when you’re accused of a crime you didn’t commit. The only solution is to rely on justice. I followed a process for five years extremely complicated and precise. I have seen people work diligently and relentlessly to collect evidence and find the truth. Justice is not perfect, but it is irreplaceable. (…)”
“The media fabric is a gigantic pool of gasoline where anyone can throw a match.”
Luc Besson is nevertheless more ferocious concerning the media machine. He states thus: “It is an ogre that devours everything and must be constantly fed, so that it burns, it clicks and it tweets. The cause doesn’t matter, as long as it’s flammable. The media fabric is a gigantic pool of gasoline where anyone can throw a match. It’s a spectacle and it brings in money, but it doesn’t protect the victims. It is absolutely necessary to separate this system from that of justice.
I hear those who, at times, doubt and lose faith in her, but in the age of Twitter and ChatGPT, she remains the best refuge. Otherwise how are we going to find the truth in the midst of the billions of unverifiable information that are constantly being thrown at us? We will not win this fight without hindsight, without discernment, without distinction. Both victims and plaintiffs who were thrust into the media spotlight ended up scorched and forgotten. The media machine is a volcano that has nothing to do with its ashes.“
Presented this Thursday at the Venice Film Festival, DogMan worn by Caleb Landry Jones will be released in theaters on September 27. The feature film tells the story of a child, bruised by life, who will find his salvation thanks to the love his dogs have for him.