What's With All These Hollywood Types Defending Roman Polanski?

After being arrested in Switzerland this week, plenty of his cronies have come the director's defense

By Leslie Gornstein Sep 30, 2009 7:23 PMTags
Whoopi Goldberg, Roman Polanski, Tilda SwintonZumaPress.com; Tony Barson/Getty Images; Dominique Charriau/Getty Images

What's with the defense of Roman Polanski? Who cares how many years have passed, he's wanted for sleeping with a 13-year-old!
—Dan McDan, via Twitter

Let me try to answer your question while being as impartial and didactic as I possibly can.

The slimeball was not wanted for sleeping with a 13-year-old girl. The slimeball—who is also a sand flea and a self-entitled, overbloated, manipulating egotist—is wanted for skipping out on a hearing over his sentencing. For having unlawful sex with that 13-year-old.

As for who is defending him, after his arrest in Switzerland, and why, take a look. Your favorite celebrity might be on the list...

Now, in case you weren't born when this all happened—which you weren't: Roman Polanski is a director. In 1977, Polanski had anal sex with a 13-year-old girl at the home of then couple Jack Nicholson and Angelica Houston. The girl had been drugged and had said no. Polanski went ahead anyway. He was originally charged with rape, but the charge was reduced to unlawful sex with a minor as part of a plea bargain.

Polanski participated in a psychiatric evaluation and expected to be released on probation, but the judge signaled he might put Polanski in prison. The director illegally skipped town before things could be sorted out and has been hanging out in Europe ever since. He was finally arrested at a Swiss film festival this week.

A constellation of directors and stars have signed a petition demanding Polanski's release, calling the issue a mere "case of morals."

The petition also deemed the arrest uncool because it was in a "neutral country, where [Polanski] assumed he could travel without hindrance," and because it undermines some sort of free and open tradition among film festivals. And oh, the arrest was also bad because "it opens the way for actions of which no-one can know the effects." So there.

As for who has signed, we have, among many others:

  • Tilda Swinton
  • Martin Scorsese
  • Woody Allen
  • Asia Argento
  • Sam Mendes
  • Steven Soderbergh
  • Monica Bellucci

Other stars have simply offered verbal defenses of Polanski. Whoopi Goldberg recently said on The View that the director wasn't guilty of "rape-rape."

"It was something else, but I don't believe it was rape-rape," Goldberg said.

Stars also love to come to the defense of famous friends, if for no other reason than to dust off old hacksaws like who-are-we-to-judge and we-all-make-mistakes.

In the wake of the Chris Brown-Rihanna beating, T.I. felt the need to tell us that "we're celebrities, we're entertainers, but we're still human—all of us. Don't expect us not to make mistakes, because we will."

And if you're wondering, "Gee, that statement sure does sound like it condones violence," you're right. In fact, T.I. apparently thought it condoned violence, too, because he distanced himself from that statement soon after. (Tyrese Gibson preferred the ah-youth spin: "A lot of people forget that he's 19, she's only 21.")

As for where I stand? Well. Take one guess.


See what Hollywood looks like way off the red carpet in our Mug-Shot Mania gallery.

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