CANNES TOUCHED THISUkrainian Model Sues Cannes Festival Over Red Carpet ‘Assault’

A Ukrainian model has filed a legal complaint against the Cannes Film Festival organizers, alleging she was manhandled by a security guard on the red carpet. Sawa Pontyjska, a presenter for FashionTV, claims she was “brutally” restrained as she tried to enter a cinema with a legitimate ticket for the premiere of Marcello Mio.

The incident, which took place on May 21, has sparked significant controversy. A video of the event has garnered over 16 million views on TikTok, showing Pontyjska being forcefully handled by a female security guard at the top of the steps to the Palais des Festivals. The footage captures the guard putting both arms around Pontyjska, leading to a brief struggle where Pontyjska almost fell to the ground before being escorted inside.

Pontyjska described the ordeal to BBC News, stating she was put in a “bear hug” and felt terrified. “I was trying to escape from this lock. I went down and I started to run away on the stairs because it was the way back [out],” she said. “She was trying to push me inside, so nobody could see what she was doing with me. Then she kicked me out through the back door.”

The model’s legal complaint accuses the festival of “physical assault and psychological damage” and seeks 100,000 euros in damages. Pontyjska claims the incident has harmed her reputation and caused her acute physical and psychological trauma. She has reportedly tried to contact the organizers for an apology but has received no response.

The same security guard involved in Pontyjska’s case has made headlines for similar confrontations with other celebrities. Footage of the guard with South Korean actress Yoona and Dominican actress Massiel Taveras has also gone viral. Singer Kelly Rowland, who experienced a heated exchange with the guard, stated, “The woman knows what happened. I know what happened. I have a boundary, and I stand by those boundaries, and that is it.”

Rowland further commented on the treatment of different attendees, implying a possible bias in the guard’s behavior. “There were other women that attended that carpet who did not quite look like me and they didn’t get scolded or pushed or told to get off. I stood my ground, and she felt like she had to stand hers,” she told the Associated Press.

The incident has cast a spotlight on the strict rules enforced at Cannes. According to the Hollywood Reporter’s Chris Gardner, security’s primary role is to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and timely seating of attendees. Celebrities, jury members, and major A-listers typically receive more leniency, while others are rushed along the red carpet.

As the controversy unfolds, festival organizers have yet to respond to the allegations. Pontyjska’s case highlights ongoing concerns about security practices and the treatment of guests at one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals.

Sawa Pontyjska claims she was “brutally” restrained as she tried to enter a cinema with a legitimate ticket . | Credit: Sawa Pontyjska/Instagram
The Ukrainian model is seeking 100,000 euros in damages. | Credit: Sawa Pontyjska/Instagram
Sawa was Miss Europe 2023. | Credit: Sawa Pontyjska/Instagram
Aside being a model she is also a Fashion TV Presenter. | Credit: Sawa Pontyjska/Instagram

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