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Emilia Pérez star sues far-right politician for transphobic comment after her Cannes win

Emilia Pérez star sues far-right politician for transphobic comment after her Cannes win

Marion Marechal french conservative Reconquete party politician transgender actress Karla Sofia Gascon 77th Cannes Film Festival
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images; Dominique Charriau/WireImage

From left: Marion Maréchal and Karla Sofía Gascón

Karla Sofía Gascón has filed a lawsuit against far-right French politician Marion Maréchal, who called her Best Actress-winning performance "female interpretation."

Karla Sofía Gascón said there would be backlash to her win at Cannes, but she didn't say she would take it lying down.

Gascón, 52, jointly received the award for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival over the weekend for her role as a transgender drug lord in the musical crime comedy Emilia Pérez. Her ensemble cast members — Selena Gomez, Zoe Saldaña, and Mexican actor Adriana Paz — all also received the award in tandem.

Shortly after Gascón's win, French far-right politician Marion Maréchal, the head of the country’s Reconquête! party, took to social media to attack the actor, calling Gascón's performance "female interpretation" and fallaciously claiming "progress for the left is the erasure of women and mothers.”

Maréchal was quickly denounced by European LGBTQ+ rights groups, who filed a complaint against her “transphobic insults" with the Paris Public Prosecutor. The lawyer representing both Gascón and the groups has since revealed that the actor has also personally filed a lawsuit against the politician.

Maréchal faces a fine of €30,000 ($32,446) if she’s found guilty of using a transphobic insult and €3,750 ($4,056) if she’s guilty of using a “sexist insult due to one’s gender identity.”

“You could tell from [Gascón's] 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,” Etienne Deshoulières told Variety.

Gascón accepted the award on behalf of the group at the festival's award ceremony, using her acceptance speech to dedicate it to “all transgender people who suffer and must keep faith that changing is possible."

“Tomorrow, there will be plenty of comments from terrible people saying the same things about all of us trans people,” she said. “But I want to end with a message of hope. To all of them, like Emilia Pérez, we all have the opportunity to change for the better, to become better people. If you have made us suffer, it is time for you also to change."

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.