"In defending the director (Roman Polanski), the entertainment industry faces a risk that it will seem out of touch with the audiences it seeks to connect with at the movie house." -- The New York Times, Sept. 30, 2009
What is important in the Roman Polanski issue is not whether the renowned film director should be extradited from Switzerland to the United States. Given the long amount of time that has elapsed, the opposition of the victim to prosecuting Polanski, that his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was butchered by Charles Manson's monsters, and that his mother was murdered in the Holocaust, a legitimate case can be made for Polanski's not receiving jail time.
What is important is the reaction of the film world to what Polanski did to a 13-year-old girl in March 1977 when he was 43 years old. According to the girl, Polanski gave her a combination of champagne and Quaaludes, a sedative drug, and "despite her protests, he performed oral sex, intercourse and sodomy on her." She claimed to have said 'no' to each act and repeatedly asked Polanski to stop.
As virtually no one has ever suggested the girl lied, it is universally acknowledged that at age 43, Roman Polanski raped a 13-year-old girl.
One would think that anyone with a functioning conscience would condemn the terrible act. Or to put it another way: If a middle-aged man raping a 13-year-old girl is not obviously terrible, what is?
Yet, leading members of the film world in Europe and America world do not see it that way.
As Britain's Guardian newspaper wrote: "The list of supporters giving Polanski their impassioned support read like a Who's Who of the cream of the movie-making world. It included, among many others, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Harvey Weinstein, Pedro Almodovar and Ethan Coen."
In addition to signing -- along with over a hundred other members of the film industry from Europe and the United States -- a petition on behalf of Polanski that never mentions his crime, producer Harvey Weinstein made a comment that is as stunning in its immorality as it is in its heartlessness. In an article for The Independent of London, he wrote that "whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time."
Oral and anal rape of a 13-year-old by a 43-year-old man is dismissed by Weinstein as a "so-called crime."
This was echoed by the acclaimed French philosopher (in France, leading philosophers are like movie stars) Bernard-Henri Levy: "Perhaps he had committed a youthful error."