‘Cannes’ Security Guard Sued For Assaulting Non-white Model, Sparking Racism Controversy

According to BBC on May 30th, Ukrainian model and fashion TV presenter Sawa Pontyjska filed a lawsuit against the organizer of the Cannes International Film Festival, claiming that she was assaulted by a security guard on the red carpet.

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Sawa Pontyska-LHP Cannes

Insisting that the bodyguard did that to her in front of thousands of people, Pontyjska demanded 100,000 euros (about 150 million won) in compensation for the damage. She said, “This caused mental and physical damage to me and affected my reputation negatively”.

She continued, “I was holding the official invitation ticket and did nothing wrong. I contacted the organizer to receive an apology from them but they did not respond”.

The bodyguard who used force on Pontyjska also sparked controversy over excessively controlling various guests throughout the film festival. Earlier on the 19th, the guard was criticized for blocking Girls’ Generation’s Yoona while the female singer-actress was entering the red carpet. BBC said, “While guiding Korean star Yoona, the female guard hurriedly pushed her. Seeing the scene, Yoona’s fans immediately expressed complaints”.

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This guard also had an argument with former Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland and was engaged in a fight with Dominican actress Massiel Taveras.

Moreover, suspicions of racism arose as most of those whom this guard assaulted were non-white people.

A reporter from the US media outlet Hollywood Reporter also said to BBC, “For the most part, the job of security is to keep the flow of traffic moving and get everyone in their seats by the scheduled start time”. However, he also raised suspicions of racism, saying “More leeway is given to actors from the films being premiered, members of the jury, celebrities representing the festival’s sponsors, other major A-listers, or beloved festival veterans”.