Cannes best actress winner Karla Sofía Gascón sues French far-right politician over ‘sexist contempt due to gender identity’

Karla Sofía Gascón being interviewed at Cannes
Karla Sofía Gascón (Image: Kevin Payravi/Wikimedia Commons)

Karla Sofía Gascón, the toast of this month’s Cannes Film Festival, has filed a complaint to the Paris Public Prosecutor over French far-right politician Marion Marechal’s transphobic comments about her.

Earlier this month, Gascón became the first publicly trans actor to win a major prize at Cannes, sharing the Best Actress Award with Selena Gomez, Adriana Paz and Zoe Saldaña, her co-stars in Emilia Pérez.

In the Mexican redemption musical, Gascón plays the title character: a drug baron seeking gender-affirming surgery.

Responding to Gascón’s win, Marchal wrote on X on 26 May 2024: “It is therefore a man who receives in Cannes the prize for… best actress. The progress for the left wing is the erasing of women and mothers.”

Marchal is at currently campaigning for the far-right Reconquête party in the European elections.

Gascón’s complaint alleges “sexist contempt related to gender identity” – an offence carrying a $4,066 (3,750 euro) fine.

Yesterday, Gascón’s lawyer Etienne Deshoulières told Variety he reached out to Gascón after a complaint was lodged against Marechal by six LGBTQ organisations, who Deshoulières is also representing, in response to the tweet.

“Keep faith” – Karla Sofía Gascón

Gascón was “very friendly and understood immediately what was at stake,” Deshoulières said.

“You could tell from her speech that she had endured a lot of discrimination and she had predicted that her win would stir transphobic comments on social media today and tomorrow,” he explained.

In a statement, he added: “Only the person targeted by the comments can act on this basis. It was therefore necessary for Karla Sofia Gascón to act alongside the LGBT+ associations to condemn Marion Maréchal for sexist contempt due to gender identity.”

In her Cannes acceptance speech, Gascón dedicated her award to all trans people “who suffer and must keep faith that changing is possible.”

Shortly after its premiere, Netflix beat out multiple studios and was in negotiations to acquire distribution rights to Emilia Pérez for North America and the UK for $12 million.

Image: Kevin Payravi/Wikimedia Commons

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