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Model Sawa Pontyjska Is Suing Cannes Film Festival After Security Guard Incident

Model Sawa Pontyjska Is Suing Cannes Film Festival After Security Guard Incident
Sawa Pontyjska Courtesy of Sawa Pontyjska/Instagram

Model Sawa Pontyjska has taken legal action against the Cannes Film Festival following an incident with a female security guard.

Pontyjska told the BBC on Thursday, May 30, that she filed a legal complaint against Cannes, alleging that she was “assaulted” by the unnamed guard. The woman in question also went viral for her interactions with other stars on the red carpet, including Kelly Rowland and Dominican TV host Massiel Taveras.

“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],” Pontyjska told the BBC. “She was trying to push me in[side], so nobody can see what she’s doing with me. Then she kicked me out through the back door.”

Pontyjska shared a TikTok video on May 21 in which she could be seen receiving — by her account — a “bear hug” from the security guard, who appeared to drag her from the red carpet into the Palais des Festivals convention center. The Miss Europe 2023 winner shared a second TikTok video on Wednesday, May 29, revealing her intention to “sue the Cannes Film Festival” and asking for assistance from “a serious lawyer,” urging them to reach out via social media.

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“I always dreamed of getting into the Cannes Film Festival, but then I was shocked about rudeness and unreasonable use of physical force, which I experienced on the red carpet with other international stars,” Pontyjska claimed in the clip. A third TikTok video shared on Thursday seemingly showed documents from her lawsuit against Cannes.


Sava Pontyjska, Cannes Marcelo Mio premiere

♬ Нафтаґаз – Monrote

According to the BBC, Pontyjska accused the film festival of “physical assault and psychological damage” and is seeking €100,000 in damages, the equivalent of $108,769.50.

The guard’s red carpet interactions raised eyebrows throughout the festival. Rowland, 43, attended the Marcello Mio movie premiere on May 21, and videos circulated online of the security guard putting her hand up behind the singer’s back. Rowland appeared to grow frustrated, turning around and saying something to the guard.

Cannes Film Festival Red Carpet gallery 415

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Rowland shed more light on the incident days later. “There were other women that attended that carpet who did not quite look like me and they didn’t get scolded or pushed off or told to get off. I stood my ground and she felt like she had to stand hers,” she told the Associated Press. “But I stood my ground.”

She continued, “The woman knows what happened, I know what happened. I have a boundary and I stand by those boundaries, and that is it.”

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