Cannes Film Festival Accused of Sexism After Allegedly Turning Women Away for Wearing Flats

by Jackie Willis 8:09 AM PDT, May 19, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

The 68th annual Cannes Film Festival red carpet has sparked a fashion controversy.

Screen International first reported that the event is turning women away from formal movie premieres if they are not wearing heels, claiming Cannes has deemed the uncomfortable footwear mandatory on the red carpet. The website reports that several older women with medical conditions were not allowed into Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara's Carol screening because they were not in high heels.

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Festival reps were quick to refute the report that has caused quite the Twitter uproar. Cannes director Thierry Fremaux defended the event's dress code, tweeting: "For the stairs, the regulations have not changed: 'No smoking, formal wear'. There is no mention of heels."

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The event's website also does not reference a heel height, but only stipulates "black tie/evening dress is required for gala screenings."

"Rules have not changed throughout the years (tuxedo, formal dress for gala screenings) and there is no specific mention about the height of the women's heels as well as for men's," a spokesperson for the festival told BBC News in a statement.

However, Asif Kapadia, who directed the Amy Winehouse documentary, also claimed that his wife was given a hard time for wearing flats to a premiere but was eventually let into the event.

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When Emily Blunt was asked at a press conference how she felt about the reported mandatory heels rule, the Sicario star exclaimed, "I think everyone should wear flats to honest at the best of times. We shouldn't wear high heels anyway. But that's just my point of view. I just prefer wearing Converse sneakers."

"You kind of think that there's these new waves of equality and waves of people realizing that women are just as kind of fascinating and interesting to watch," Blunt continued. "And it was interesting with this film I think you [director Denis Villeneuve] got asked early on if you'd rewrite my part for a guy."

What do you think of the Cannes #flatgate? State your case in the comments and tweet #ETnow.