French film director Luc Besson faces new claims of sexual violence

By , and Geoffrey Le Guilcher
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All those interviewed and quoted in this report were questioned by Mediapart over recent months. Some asked for their names to be withheld in the article, explaining that they were fearful of the consequences of speaking out. A number of them have provided Mediapart with written statements, notably in case of subsequent legal action by Luc Besson. Some of those interviewed asked for the right to review the quotations published here, which Mediapart agreed to.

We met and interviewed at length Sand Van Roy, and the women given the pseudonyms of Alice and Amandine, on numerous occasions. To support their accounts, they provided Mediapart with a series of documents, email and phone exchanges. Sand Van Roy told Mediapart that the events she described to us were the same as those provided in her statements to the police investigation. She also gave Mediapart notes recorded in the form of a diary on her smartphone that began with her first encounter with Luc Besson.

We interviewed the woman presented under the pseudonym of Mona on several occasions by phone.

We were also given access to the details of the two formal complaints against Luc Besson registered by Sand Van Roy with the Paris public prosecutor’s office, and also the email sent to the prosecution services by Amandine.

Mediapart contacted Luc Besson and his lawyer Thierry Marembert by email on July 3rd requesting an interview with the film director. Luc Besson did not personally answer that request, but his lawyer refused any such interview “for the time being” while asking for the list of questions we wished to ask his client. We duly sent them on July 5th but received no answers. Instead, Thierry Marembert told Mediapart in a written response on July 8th: “The subjects you mention are the objectof an ongoing investigation”, adding: “You will therefore understand that Mr Besson is keeping his answers for the investigators for who he has put himself at their disposition in order for his innocence to be proven.”

A number of indirect, circumstantial accounts gathered by Mediapart during this investigation had already been obtained by Geoffrey Le Guilcher for his 2016 unauthorised biography of Luc Besson, Luc Besson, L'homme qui voulait être aimé : La biographie non autorisée (Luc Besson, the man who wanted to be loved: the unauthorised biography), published in France by Flammarion. Others emerged notably after the breaking of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and also following the formal complaint lodged by Sand Van Roy in May.

Mediapart’s research included contact with several dozen women and men who have variously had close and distant professional relations with Luc Besson. Many of those contacted declined to offer any comment.

On May 18th, actress Sand Van Roy lodged her first complaint alleging she was raped by Besson during events that she said took place at the hotel Le Bristol in central Paris. She was subsequently questioned by police investigators on May 18th and on June 19th. She lodged a second complaint against Besson on July 6th concerning other events than those she detailed in her first complaint, when she also requested to be questioned further by the police.