Free Polanski? UPDATED!09.29.09
Recently arrested film director Roman Polanski has the support of much of Hollywood as he fights extradition to the United States from Switzerland to face charges of drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson’s house back in 1978 that he has evaded for over thirty years.
All signs point to him being guilty – including his own guilty plea – hence why he’s lived in France for the past three decades. Yet Hollywood royalty like Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen (although, I’m not sure what kind of endorsement it is coming from him), and even female actors Monica Bellucci and Tilda Swinton, support Polanski and don’t want him brought to America to be put on trial.
Sure, the guy is really good at making movies. Tinseltown even awarded him the high honor of Best Director for the film “The Pianist.” But we didn’t see the music industry get behind Phil Spector when he was on trial for murder of actress Lana Clarkson. I know Polanski didn’t kill anyone, but the rape of an unconscious seventh grader can’t be too far behind on the moral infraction scale.
Now, I don’t know anything about extradition or international law. And I always thought that Switzerland was a neutral country. But, in all honesty, I don’t even know what that means in terms of an American criminal getting caught there. I also don’t know that those Hollywood supporters are the best people to listen to regarding the legality and ramifications of his capture in Zurich. They’re filmmakers, not lawyers.
I’m curious to see how this plays out. If it turns out that Polanski was arrested illegally and he gets to go back to France and live as a free man, well, it’s not like it’ll be all that different from how things have been for the past thirty-one years. And if he ends up being extradited to California, he’ll get what he deserves.
It’s hard to really defend this guy. Talented artist or not, international law or not, he forced himself on a 13-year-old girl. His celebrity shouldn’t alleviate him of paying his debt to society like the rest of us.
I’m not sure I really conveyed this as well as I wanted to.
Polanski deserves to get the maximum sentence for his crimes. We shouldn’t even be having this conversation nor should there be any support for him. Were he just a regular guy living in Michigan, everyone would be condemning him for his despicable and disgusting actions. He’d be a brief blip on the news radar and then spend the next decade or more in prison with no one – especially no one of remote importance or celebrity – fighting for his release. If reasonably intelligent (I guess that remains to be seen) and successful professionals like Scorsese can be blinded by Polanski’s talent and celebrity notoriety, it’s no wonder we have kids like OSU QB Terrelle Pryor calling everyone murderers and supporting Michael Vick.
Polanski committed a monstrous and heinous act that doesn’t soften or diminish in immorality simply by the passing of time. What he did to that poor girl was, is, and always will be a hideous crime that deserves punishment no matter what country the coward flees to.