Filmmaker Roman Polanski was recently named president of the Cesar Awards, the equivalent of the Oscars in France. But many objected to the appointment in light of the long-standing rape charges against him, and he's now stepping down from the post, as Variety reports. A petition to push Polanski out of the ceremony, where he was to give an opening speech, garnered 60,000 signatures. French feminist group Osez le Féminisme ignited the protests, complaining that his appointment was "an insult to rape and sexual assault victims," according to Variety. The backlash "devastated" Polanski, his friend Thierry Frémaux said on RTL radio, according to the Associated Press. Polanski moved to France in the '70s after being charged with raping a 13-year-old girl in the U.S. He plead innocent, but then plead guilty to "unlawful sexual intercourse" — which is essentially statutory rape — in a plea bargain. President of theFrench Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques Alain Terzian, who selected Polanski for the presidency, called him an "insatiable esthete reinventing his art and works over the years." The Academy is currently searching for a replacement to fill the post.