Adele Haenel, the well-known French actress who started her career as a child with Les Diables(2002) and Water Lilies(2007) and later won the César Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film Love at First Fight in 2014-- has shared her experiences with the public detailing the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of Christophe Ruggia during their time working together.
Haenel who is now 31, spoke to Mediapart news website and revealed allegations against Ruggia that sent shockwaves across the French Film industry.
The pair worked together on Ruggia's 2002 'Les Diables'(The Demons) on whose media tour the actress claims to have been abused during, she was only 15 at the time. Haenel started to work with the underage actress when she was only 12 and it seems that the director who was in his 40's at the time made unwelcome sexual advances at the teen.
Ruggia arrested as part of investigation
Ruggia was arrested as part of an investigation into "sexual aggression on a minor", police said on Monday. The actress alleges Ruggia harassed her when she was working under his wing as an underage actress trying to find her footing in the industry. She alleges that the abuse took place during the travel time they were together while promoting the film they had worked on together.
Haenel's account was backed up by many people who worked on the film and noted Ruggia's inappropriate behaviour towards her, along with the letters he had written at the time proclaiming his love for her.
Ruggia has been expelled from the guild of French directors
As a result, Ruggia has been expelled from the Société des réalisateurs de films, the guild of French directors. Ruggia has asked for forgiveness, however, declaring that his "adulation" for Adele Haenel has been the latter "painful at times" and denounced a "media pillory".
At 15, she tried to cut off links with Ruggia and sought help from people in his entourage but few people according to her, showed any sympathy. She lodged a formal complaint against Ruggia in November and the public prosecutor opened an investigation into "sexual aggression on a minor carried out by someone on authority"
"I did not see that my adulation for her, and the hopes I placed in her, might-given her young age- come across at times as irksome. If this is what happened... I ask her pardon," he said in an earlier statement, vehemently denying the allegations made against him by the actress.