Cannes best actress winner Karla Sofía Gascón sues transphobic French politician

Karla Sofía Gascón, a Spanish actress whose performance in the film “Emilia Pérez” alongside co-stars Selena Gomez, Adriana Paz, and Zoe Saldaña earned the best actress award at the Cannes film festival, has filed a lawsuit against a far-right French politician for transphobic comments made in relation to the winning award category. 

Gascón, a one-time telenovela star who transitioned in 2018, plays the titular character in director Jacques Audiard’s musical comedy. The film debuted to a nearly 10 minute standing ovation, according to Variety. Per reports, Netflix will distribute the film in the United States, while the French distributor Pathé has secured an August 28 release in France.

“It is therefore a man who receives the prize for female interpretation at Cannes,” Marion Maréchal, a high-ranking member in the Reconquête party, wrote in a post on X, in response to Gascón’s win. “Progress for the left is the erasure of women and mothers.”

According to Variety, Gascón, the first trans woman to win the Cannes prize, filed suit after six LGBTQ+ advocacy groups lodged complaints against Maréchal on her behalf, citing a “transphobic insult.” Etienne Deshoulières, attorney for Gascón and the advocacy groups, told Variety that Gascón hoped to give weight to the complaints by filing a lawsuit.

Under French law, Maréchal’s “sexist insult related to gender identity” is punishable by a 3,750 euro fine, while a one-year imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 euro could be assessed for “transphobic insult,” Variety notes.

Maréchal, a candidate for European Parliament, is the niece of Marine LePen, whose presidential bids as leader of the National Front party in 2012, 2017 and 2022 failed. Maréchal’s Reconquête party, which borrows its name from the Spanish Reconquista — the expulsion of Muslims from the country — represents far-right, Great Replacement-esque ideology in France.

Watch the trailer for “Emilia Pérez” here:

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