The Cannes Film Festival faces fresh accusations of discrimination for turning away women from the red carpet for not wearing high heels after a film producer with an amputated foot said she was told off for wearing flat shoes.
Film producer Valeria Richter, who has part of her left foot amputated, said she was stopped by festival officials who pointed and waved their fingers at her flat shoes.
Richter said she could not “keep her balance” in heels after having her big toe and part of her left foot amputated and was stopped four times on her way into the premiere of Gus Van Sant’s Sea of Trees on Saturday.
She told BBC 5 Live that red carpet officials pointed at her shoes and said: “No, no, this won’t work, you can’t get in like this.”
She said: “They pointed their finger at my shoe and then were waving their fingers at me. It was quite obvious it was my shoes that was an issue.
“Obviously, I could wave my foot at them and that would make the situation a little less awkward for them, because I had a visible explanation [for not wearing heels].”
Although Richter was eventually allowed into the premiere, she said many of her colleagues who didn’t wear heels “were rejected and did not come in”.
Her comments follow claims that women attending the premiere of Todd Hayne’s Carol on Sunday night were turned away for not wearing heels.
Asif Kapadia, whose Amy Winehouse documentary premiered in Cannes at the weekend, said his wife had been stopped on the red carpet for wearing flats but was “eventually let in”.
British actress Emily Blunt has added her voice to the controversy surrounding the festival’s unofficial high heels policy, saying “everyone should wear flats to be honest”.
“We shouldn’t be wearing high heels anyway. That’s my point of view. I just prefer wearing Converse sneakers,” she said.
But she did opt to wear heels for the premiere of her latest film Sciario, which also stars John Brolin and Benicio del Toro.
Cannes director Thierry Fremaux has denied claims that the film festival has banned flat shoes from the red carpet.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “For the stairs, the regulations have not changed: ‘No smoking, no formal wear’. There is no mention of heels.”
Officials on the red carpet are believed to have been reminded that there is no specific rule about the height of either men or women’s shoes.
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