Cannes security guard sued by model accusing her of red carpet ‘assault’

Cannes security guard sued by model accusing her of red carpet ‘assault’

A security guard who has been involved in multiple heated interactions with guests on the Cannes red carpet has been sued after a “bear hug” incident with a Ukranian model.

Sawa Pontyjska, a model and presenter for FashionTV, has filed a legal complaint against the guard and alleges that she was brutally restrained while attending an event at the annual French film festival.

Along with Pontyjska, other guests such as singer Kelly Rowland, South Korean actor Yoona and Dominican actor Massiel Taveras have been challenged by the guard while on the carpet.

On 21 May, Pontyjska tried to enter the premiere of the French-Italian comedy Marcello Mio, but footage shows she was physically restrained by the security guard and almost fell to the ground during their contact.

The video of the incident has been viewed on TikTok more than 16 million times.

On Wednesday (29 May), Pontyjska posted pictures of documents accusing the festival of “physical assault and psychological damage”.

She said her reputation had also been harmed and is seeking €100,000 (£85,000) in damages.

Speaking to BBC News, the model noted that she was attempting to enter the cinema with a legitimate ticket, but was stopped by the employee.

“I was trying to escape from this lock. I went down and I started to run away on the stairs because it was the way back [out],” she said.

“She was trying to push me in[side], so nobody can see what she’s doing with me. Then she kicked me out through the back door.”

Pontyjska’s legal complaint claims that she was “violently challenged by one of a group of security guards” in front of “thousands of people”.

She added that the use of physical force caused “acute pain”, and she also suffered “psychological trauma”.

Sawa Pontyjska at Cannes (TikTok / pontyjska)
Sawa Pontyjska at Cannes (TikTok / pontyjska)

The Independent has contacted Cannes Film Festival for comment.

The unnamed security guard has been at the centre of several headlines at the festival, namely for her interaction with Destiny’s Child star Kelly Rowland.

After footage emerged of the “Motivation” singer shouting at the guard, Rowland shared her take on the incident.

“The woman knows what happened. I know what happened. I have a boundary, and I stand by those boundaries and that is it,” she told the Associated Press.

She continued: “There were other women that attended that carpet who did not quite look like me and they didn’t get scolded or pushed or told to get off. I stood my ground, and she felt like she had to stand hers.”