Lawsuit Filed Vs. Cannes Guard Who Scuffled With Celebs

Model accuses woman of assault on red carpet
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2024 9:13 AM CDT
Lawsuit Filed Vs. Cannes Guard Who Scuffled With Celebs
Kelly Rowland poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Marcello Mio' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 21, 2024.   (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

A Ukrainian model, one of at least four celebrities to tangle with a female security guard at the Cannes Film Festival, is suing for "psychological trauma." Sawa Pontyjska, a presenter with FashionTV who was crowned Miss Europe 2023, says she had a legitimate ticket to the May 21 premiere of Marcello Mio but was "brutally" restrained while trying to enter the cinema at the prestigious French event, per the BBC. In a clip viewed more than 16 million times on TikTok, a steward is seen wrapping both arms around the model and trying to direct her through a set of doors at the top of the steps to the Palais des Festivals. Pontyjska struggled, got loose, and ran a few steps but was stopped by more security and moved inside.

Pontyjska alleges she was "violently challenged" in front of "thousands of people," causing "acute pain" and "psychological trauma." The female guard "was trying to push me in[side], so nobody can see what she's doing with me," she told the BBC. "Then she kicked me out through the back door." Pontyjska said she'd done nothing wrong and requested an apology but had yet to receive one. In another viral clip, also from May 21, singer Kelly Rowland is seen scolding the same female guard, who'd tried to stop Rowland from pausing and waving to fans from the steps, per Today. "I have a boundary, and I stand by those boundaries," Rowland, a Black woman, later told the AP, suggesting race had played a role.

A day later, the same guard, said to be a local Frenchwoman on a short-term contract with the festival, tussled with Dominican actor Massiel Taveras. She was seen putting her arm over Taveras' head and chest while the actor tried to unfurl the train of her dress. Taveras ended up shoving the guard, per the Independent. A fourth celebrity, K-Pop star Yoona, appeared flustered as the guard put her arm in front of her, appearing to block Yoona from waving to fans, on May 19. A photographer who's covered the festival for a decade told NBC News he saw two to three celebrities being handled aggressively each day. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the festival "runs its famous red carpet with near militaristic gusto" and "attendees are always rushed down the carpet and up the stairs" unless they appear in the movie being premiered. (More Cannes Film Festival stories.)

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