Roman Polanski: Hollywood Fail

Roman Polanski: Hollywood Fail

Melissa Silverstein over at the Women & Hollywood blog has been doing some really exceptional writing about the rape of a thirteen year old girl committed by Roman Polanski in 1977 and Hollywood's mind-boggling reaction to his recent arrest:

* Does Being An Artist Trump Being a Rapist?

* The Silence is Deafening

* Rape is a Feminist Issue

It's staggering the amount of Hollywood (and European) directors and actors who have stood behind Polanski and petitioned for his release, shocking to hear Whoopi Golberg proclaim on The View that, "It wasn't rape-rape," and Peg Yorkin, founder of the Feminist Majority Foundation, state that, "My personal thoughts are let the guy go. It's bad a person was raped. But that was so many years ago. The guy has been through so much in his life. It's crazy to arrest him now."

Yes, the rape happened over thirty years ago. Yes, Roman Polanski has directed some very well-regarded films. Yes, he's had a hard life.

None of those things change the fact that in 1977 Polanski plied a thirteen year old child with alcohol and Quaaludes and then raped her. At the time the victim was well under the legal age of consent (which was sixteen in California in 1977). But regardless, she didn't consent. Quite the opposite. She tried to fake an asthma attack to keep her distance from Polanski and said no several times during the attack. I don't want to go into much detail here in case people find it triggering but if you're so inclined you can read the victim's very disturbing grand jury testimony at The Smoking Gun.

The Hollywood bigwigs standing behind Polanski either aren't aware of the awful details or don't care. Shame on them all.

Of course, not everyone in Hollywood supports Polanski. Comedian/actor/writer Chris Rock was the voice of reason when he appeared on Jay Leno last week. If you missed it you can see him start into the subject at the 2:45 mark.

Others who have spoken out against the rape include producer Bo Zenga (Scary Movie, Soul Plane) and director Kevin Smith but so far that list is sadly short.

In a recent interview Harvey Weinstein (who's been circulating the pro-Polanski petition) stated that “Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion.”

To that, I say, as Chris Rock did on Leno, "Are you kidding me?"

For the most part compassion is not what's on display here. When you have such a slew of influential people from the entertainment world coming forward in support of a rapist I think it behooves others with equal influence and opposing views to rise up and counter those negative ideas.

So what's going on with the actors and directors whose names don't appear on the petition and who aren't mouthing idiocies about 'rape-rape'? Your silence doesn't tell us anything, folks. Isn't there something you'd like to say to all the young women out there and to the men who see these girls as easy targets?

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