Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Roman Polanski

The Hollywood Reaction

Hollywood Sign
Hollywood Sign

It's funny what a few decades will do. Polanski, once outcast from Hollywood, has lately become its darling. Upon the news of his Swiss arrest, many actors, actresses and other entertainment heavyweights signed petitions for his release and issued public statements in support of the director. The list is long, including: Salman Rushdie, Milan Kundera, Neil Jordan, Isabelle Adjani, Isabelle Huppert, Mike Nichols, Diane von Furstenberg, Paul Auster, Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Wes Anderson, Darren Aronofsky, Monica Bellucci, Stephen Frears, Tilda Swinton, Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Terry Gilliam, Harvey Weinstein and many, many others.

But there is a culture war within Hollywood. One of his supporters, Emma Thompson, withdrew her support after speaking with a student at Exeter University. The student's argument persuaded her to pull her name from the petition. Whoopi Goldberg inadvertently put her foot in her mouth on The View, when she proclaimed that it wasn't really "rape-rape." Harvey Weinstein dismissed it out of hand, calling the rape "this so-called rape." Many celebrities seem to endorse the idea that the judge had badly mishandled the sentencing and that Polanski's 42 days at Chino and the 30-plus years out of the country were punishment enough.

But many others wonder if Polanski's Hollywood defenders have ever bothered to read the grand jury transcripts, which reveal a far more troubling motive than merely inadvertent sex with a minor. The question remains: Will Polanski, now 75, go free or will he serve the rest of his life in jail? Only time will tell.

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