Cannes festival reportedly sued by model who alleges assault by guard on red carpet

A Ukrainian model reportedly filed a lawsuit against the Cannes Film Festival over alleged mistreatment on the red carpet by a security guard — who is facing similar criticism over other tense interactions with women attendees.

The model, Sawa Pontyjska, said in her lawsuit that she was aggressively restrained by the security guard as she attempted to enter the May 21 premiere of “Marcello Mio.” In a viral clip that has been viewed almost 17 million times, the guard is seen wrapping her arms around Pontyjska and manhandling her away from the carpet.

Pontyjska, who is also a presenter for FashionTV, almost falls before getting up and turning away from the security guard.

Pontyjska posted on her Instagram story what appeared to be a letter to a French judge, in which she told her version of events.

“I tried to get onto the red carpet with my legitimate ticket,” she wrote in French. “However, in trying to walk on the red carpet, at the top of the stairs, I was violently stopped by a group of security agents. This violent response, which happened in front of the thousands of people’s eyes, is documented by the attached video.”

The “physical force,” Pontyjska wrote, caused her to have “considerable injuries” and “severe psychological trauma.”

“This event has prevented me from sleeping three straight nights and I’ve received innumerable messages of support from my fans who have tried to soothe me,” she added, “I ask that you also note that after having been pushed inside, further from the cameras and spectators, I was thrown out through a back door and I could not attend the playing of the movie that I came for.”

The Cannes Film Festival did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Destiny’s Child alum Kelly Rowland also clashed with the security guard, who has not yet been publicly identified, during the “Marcello Mio” premiere.

As Rowland walked alongside the Palais des Festivals staircase, she suddenly engaged in a tense conversation with the guard and was captured pointing a finger at her.

“The woman knows what happened. I know what happened,” Rowland, 43, said. “I have a boundary, and I stand by those boundaries, and that is it.”

Days later, the same guard faced another wave of backlash when she was once again recorded forcibly ushering K-pop singer Yoona and Dominican actor Massiel Taveras away from the red carpet.

Taveras, who wore a white dress bearing the image of Jesus Christ, spoke out about the incident Wednesday on Instagram.

“This is definitely a historical moment to remember,” Taveras wrote. “We’re all together in 1 voice it dosent [sic] matter the reasons because of the color of our skin, or becouse of Jesus Christ portrait on my dress , It wasent Right the way she treat us.”

Times staff writer Alexandra Del Rosario contributed to this report.

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