Masiero was invited to present the award for the best costumes at the Cesar Awards, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, on Friday. The 57-year-old actress approached the podium wearing a donkey costume over a blood-stained dress. After taking the microphone, she made a sarcastic remark about wanting a nicer gown but being told that it wasn’t “essential enough,” in an apparent jab at coronavirus restrictions that have targeted businesses and activities deemed non-essential.
Moments later, she stripped down to her birthday suit, revealing the message “no culture, no future” written across her chest. She then showed her backside, which contained an appeal to French Prime Minister Jean Castex.
“Give us back art, Jean,” the message read.
The stunt elicited applause from the audience, although some spectators were visibly surprised by the unexpected turn of events.
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Although Masiero was the only individual to strip on stage, she wasn’t alone in her anger over the government’s Covid-19 measures.
While accepting a screenplay award, Stephane Demoustier expressed frustration that her children can go clothes shopping but still are prohibited from going to the cinema, describing the restrictions as “incomprehensible.”
France’s cultural venues were shuttered at the end of October as the country battled a second wave of the virus. The government extended the closures after initially signaling that they would be lifted in January. Shops and other businesses were allowed to reopen in mid-December.
Last Saturday, protesters in Paris occupied three of France’s national theaters in opposition to the ongoing closures. In response, French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot visited one of the theaters to start a dialogue with the demonstrators, vowing “the protection of artistic employment for as long as necessary.”