Cannes Film Festival Faces Backlash After Women In Flats Are Turned Away

by Gillian Fuller

The Cannes Film Festival organizers are in hot water after it was revealed several women were denied entry because they were not wearing high enough heels.

The news first broke in a Screen article that claimed a few middle-aged women were denied access to Todd Hayne's "Carol" premiere on Sunday night because of their choices of footwear.

Multiple guests, the publication reports, were turned away for wearing flats with rhinestones on them.

When questioned, festival organizers confirmed it is "obligatory for all women to wear high heels" if attending a red-carpet screening.

Several attendees, including Asif Kapadia, the director of "Amy," took to Twitter to express outrage at the ridiculously sexist dress code. Kapadia's wife was initially denied entry into the event.

One attendee, Lucie, told BuzzFeed,

We knew that at 8 pm there's a smart dress code so we put on dresses. I can't wear heels [due to ankle and back problems] so I had put on beautiful silver flats. I was told that because I didn't wear heels I couldn't walk up the red carpet.

When asked for a comment, a spokesperson for the Cannes Film Festival claimed,

Regarding the dress code for the red carpet 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. Thus, in order to make sure that this rule is respected, the Festival's hosts and hostesses were reminded of it.

It remains unclear if the dress code is still being enforced despite the current backlash.

Several high-profile women were denied entry because of their footwear.

@muirkate happened to my wife (eventually let in) — asifkapadia (@asifkapadia) May 19, 2015

Many find the rule to be elitist and discriminatory against the disabled.

@ChinChinDarling Apparently, it doesn't matter if you are disabled or able-bodied. Etiquette comes first in Cannes. — Victor Anfu (@verflucht) May 19, 2015

According to the Cannes Film Festival, the dress code has been the same since it was first established.

TIL: At the Cannes Film Festival "it is obligatory for all women to wear high-heels to red-carpet screenings". What? — Caroline Crampton (@c_crampton) May 19, 2015

But for the first time, people are expressing their frustrations with the dress code.

Women being turned away for not wearing high heels at Cannes is ridiculous — katie-rose (@end0ftheaffair) May 19, 2015

Some attendees have ideas about what Cannes can do with those stilettos.

Cannes turning away women unless wearing heels - even disabled women who can't ? Take said heel and shove up rectum, there is your heel x — alisha flaherty (@lishadina) May 19, 2015

Even celebrities are against the outdated dress code.

#EmilyBlunt on women being denied entry to a #Cannes2015 premiere for wearing flats: "I think everyone should wear flats, to be honest." — POPSUGAR (@POPSUGAR) May 19, 2015

Some vowed to stage protests.

Denis Villeneuve says he, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin will walk the red carpet in #heels in protest against flat shoes ban #cannesheels — Andreas Wiseman (@AndreasWiseman) May 19, 2015

Others have more appropriate punishments in mind for the rule makers.

Whoever barred women from #Cannes2015 for not wearing high heels needs to be fired - and forced to stand in stilettos for 12 hours. — Tom + Lorenzo® (@tomandlorenzo) May 19, 2015

Cannes Film Festival 2015 will soon to be known only as #HeelGate2015.

I think women should have heels on the red carpet - one shoe in each hand ready to hurl at the fashion police when questioned. #cannesheels — suzanne alizart (@suzybelle) May 19, 2015

Citations: Outrage After Women Are Turned Away From The Red Carpet At Cannes For Wearing Flats (BuzzFeed)