Roman Polanski is a director whose talent behind the camera has been made to seem more important than the fact that he was convicted of drugging and raping a 13-year-old and then fled the country to avoid serving time for statutory rape. Despite the fact that he committed a horrific crime, people have continued to work with him in the years since, and some were even seen sporting black outfits and #TimesUp pins at The Golden Globes.
Considering the crime took place in the 1970s and was highly reported, there is zero room for ignorance about what Polanski did. Every actor and actress who has worked with him since 1977 has done so with the full knowledge that Polanski is a child rapist. Additionally, in 2009 there was a window in which it could have been possible for Polanski to be brought to justice. Polanski was arrested in Switzerland on his way to a film festival and picked up for the warrant that is still out for his arrest from 1977. Yet over 100 people in film signed a petition for his release. Below is the full text of the petition, as reported in this article, as well as the list of people who signed it, including Guillermo del Toro, Woody Allen, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Martin Scorcese, David Lynch, Wong Kar Wai, Harmony Korine, Stephen Frears, Alexander Payne, Michael Mann, Wim Wenders, Tilda Swinton, Julian Schnabel, Harrison Ford, and Pedro Almodovar. Both Meryl Streep and Whoopi Goldberg supported Polanski in different ways as well.
Petition for Roman Polanski
We have learned the astonishing news of Roman Polanski’s arrest by the Swiss police on September 26th, upon arrival in Zurich (Switzerland) while on his way to a film festival where he was due to receive an award for his career in filmmaking.
His arrest follows an American arrest warrant dating from 1978 against the filmmaker, in a case of morals.
Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision. It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him.
By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.
The arrest of Roman Polanski in a neutral country, where he assumed he could travel without hindrance, undermines this tradition: it opens the way for actions of which no one can know the effects.
Roman Polanski is a French citizen, a renown and international artist now facing extradition. This extradition, if it takes place, will be heavy in consequences and will take away his freedom.
Filmmakers, actors, producers and technicians — everyone involved in international filmmaking — want him to know that he has their support and friendship.
On September 16th, 2009, Mr. Charles Rivkin, the US Ambassador to France, received French artists and intellectuals at the embassy. He presented to them the new Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the embassy, Ms Judith Baroody. In perfect French she lauded the Franco-American friendship and recommended the development of cultural relations between our two countries.
If only in the name of this friendship between our two countries, we demand the immediate release of Roman Polanski.
What a piece of crap. However, this should not come as a surprise. It wasn’t too long ago, in 2003, that Polanski won an Oscar for Best Director for the movie The Pianist and received a 30-second standing ovation. All this for a man who couldn’t even attend the ceremony because he was a wanted man fleeing the country for raping a 13-year-old.
Scenes like these highlight the hypocrisy of Hollywood, and why it is probably always going to be a problematic place to serve as the origin of this modern movement to end sexual assault. Too many have already, happily, defended and supported those people. No one can say they didn’t know when it comes to Polanski. When Streep and the rest of Hollywood stood up to clap for that man, they did so knowing 100% what he had done.
Not to mention Polanski himself has managed to make himself into a victim. “As far as what I did: It’s over. I pleaded guilty,” said Polanski in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I went to jail. I came back to the United States to do it, people forget about that, or don’t even know. I then was locked up here [in Zurich] after this festival. So in the sum, I did about four or five times more than what was promised to me.” He served just over 40 days in jail for raping a minor.
People bring up the victim Samantha Geimer’s comments about forgiving Polanski, and her wanting the issue to be dropped, as an acquittal of Polanski’s behavior. As the victim of the abuse, and someone for whom no justice has been served, her perspective is her own and no one should say she can’t feel that way.
However, the issue is that Polanski has taken this to mean he should be excused—and so have his defenders. Serving 42 days in prison is not a punishment for raping and sodomizing a child.
So as I look out at any of the actors who have been in one of the fourteen films that Polanski has made since 1977, or those who had the nerve to sign that petition, all I can think is that they have all been complicit in allowing this man to be seen as an artist first and a rapist second. All while wearing #TimesUp pins.
(via The Daily Beast, image: Denis Makarenko/Shutterstock)
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