The timing of today’s announcement from the Swiss that fugitive director Roman Polanski will not face extradition to the United States coming just a couple days after we all witnessed Hollywood’s reaction to the audio tape of Mel Gibson’s raging, racist rant is fitting. What an interesting opportunity for a side-by-side look at Leftist Hollywood’s values.
It’s unlikely that anyone who’s considered a serious part of the Hollywood community will openly work with Mel Gibson again for a long, long time — if ever. WME, his agency, announced they had dropped him as a client within minutes of the release of the recording, and courtesy of the L.A. Times, the warning has already gone out making clear that anyone foolish enough to work with Gibson again will pay a heavy price:
There’s little chance he’ll land at another agency anytime soon — signing would bring down a horrible avalanche of bad PR to any agency that got within smelling distance and, more to the craven point, any agent that signs him has little hope of booking him any roles anyway since there isn’t a studio in town that will hire Gibson.
So toxic is the “Braveheart” director that the L.A. Times also “suggested” that now would be a “good time” for Tinseltowners to loudly and proudly condemn the former superstar, and a special point was made to single out his longtime friend Jodie Foster (who just finished directing a film that stars Gibson):
As an admirer of his work, I’ve tried to see things from Polanski’s point of view in the past, but if these charges turn out to be true, it would be harder than ever to defend him. Once burned is twice shy.
What a relief to know Goldstein draws the line somewhere. But he’s not alone. Here’s Jeff Wells:
Double standards are often nothing of the sort, and charges of double standards are often dodges by the disingenuous designed to convince the sophomoric that adhering to any kind of standard is inherently unjust. But then there are some actual double standards that are so shamelessly transparent that one should be embarrassed to even utter them.
Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere.com does not seem to be embarrassed. He recently unleashed the full power of his ire upon the Pope over the recent child abuse accusations. And his ire is awesome to behold, as we can learn from the plugs and testimonials his website continuously flashes – plugs testifying to his influence from the very same Hollywoodoids whose toes he claims to be willing to tread upon with abandon.
In short, Wells supports the wacky idea that a couple of well-known atheists should somehow arrest Pope Benedict on his trip to England:
On CBS's Sunday Morning, movie reviewer David Edelstein heaped praised upon The Ghost Writer, the latest film by director, and indicted child rapist, Roman Polanski: "Whatever you say about this man, a victim and a victimizer, he's an artist to the end. He can conjure up on screen his inner world. However, malignant."
Edelstein began the review by proclaiming that Polanski's new film: "shows its maker at the height of his powers." That despite the admission that the director is "likely en route to the slammer for a rape he committed in the '70s." Edelstein later gushed: "Polanski's The Ghost Writer is alive and gripping from its first frame....There's an icky erotic undertone. With Polanski, sex and death are sibling close."
Interestingly, on NPR's Morning Edition radio program on Friday, movie reviewer Kenneth Turan had almost identical praise for the controversial director: "Roman Polanski is back, his new film, The Ghost Writer, is a dark pearl of a movie, made with the flare and precision of a director suddenly returned to the height of his powers." Turan later hoped: "With any kind of luck, The Ghost Writer will help Roman Polanski catch fire one last time."
In an October 1, 2009 column entitled "Hollywood's Favorite Rapist," NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell detailed how those in the entertainment industry and the news media have defended Polanski in the wake of the director's recent arrest and indictment for the rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
It was a year in which the dominant cultural story was the sad, but eerily almost predictable drug-addled death of Michael Jackson. But there were a few good moments sprinkled in with the outrageous and the tawdry in 2009. My choices for cultural winners and losers this year:
Winner: Farrah Fawcett. Unlike Jackson, she fought and ultimately lost her battle with cancer with extraordinary grace, faith, and dignity.
Winner: "Up." The elite and the people agree that Pixar films are sublimely entertaining. The eight-minute montage near the beginning of this film sweetly chronicling a loving marriage moved millions to tears from coast to coast.
In fact, animated movies continued to earn massive box-office receipts. "Up" drew almost $300 million, "Monsters vs. Aliens" and "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" came very close to $200 million, and the offbeat "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" grossed more than $120 million.
Hollywood liberalism has some strange priorities. During the last couple months, two high-profile criminals have been slated to face justice in American courts. The first drugged and raped a young girl in 1977. The second orchestrated the most deadly attack against American civilians in our nation's history.
Decisions to try them in the United States were controversial, but a petition against the extradition of the former, director Roman Polanski, garnered over 130 signatures. Included on the list were such illustrious film personalities as Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese, David Lynch, and Wess Anderson.
Shortly after, another petition circulated the hills of Los Angeles, this one protesting the Obama administration's decision to try 9/11 terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City courts. This petition garnered seven names: Robert Duvall, Brian Dennehy, Jon Voight, Danny Aiello, Robert Davi, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Ben Stein.
Plenty of celebrities issued crazy statements in their efforts to defend director and rapist Roman Polanski but none went as far as author Gore Vidal did when he labeled Polanski's victim a "young hooker."
In an Oct. 28 interview with The Atlantic's John Meroney about a variety of topics, Vidal claimed he didn't "give a f---" about the Polanski case. "Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she's been taken advantage of?"
WaPo TV critic Tom Shales [file photo] has come up with a creative new defense of Roman Polanski: Hollywood thirteen-year olds aren't really thirteen.
NB reader FT pointed us to an online exchange between a reader and Shales today that included this [emphasis added]:
Tom Shales: Hello, Dunn Loring, I didn't want to sign off without trying to answer your question. I didn't realize I had written a column defending Roman Polanski and minimized his crime - are you sure it was me? I mean, I? There is, apparently, more to this crime than it would seem, and it may sound like a hollow defense, but in Hollywood I am not sure a 13-year-old is really a 13-year-old.
Longtime ABC journalist Cokie Roberts on Sunday harshly criticized fugitive director Roman Polanski, going so far as to joke, "As far as I’m concerned, just take him out and shoot him." Appearing on the internet-only segment of This Week, she bluntly stated, "But, Roman Polanski is a criminal. You know, he raped and drugged and raped and sodomized a child. And then was a fugitive from justice." She followed up with her "shoot him" quip.
Roberts’ comments were in stark contrast to the cautious remarks coming from many other journalists. On Monday’s Good Morning America, host Diane Sawyer referred to the director's arrest for the 1977 rape of a 13-year old as an "international incident." On Tuesday, Sawyer described the capture of Polanski in Switzerland as the culmination of "a 31 year-old prosecutorial obsession."
When it comes to the awful abuse of children, it sure seems like the Boston Globe doesn't get too worked up unless the words Cardinal, bishop, or priest is in someone's job title.
Over seven years ago, beginning on January 6, 2002, the Boston Globe initiated a relentless, no-stone-unturned investigation into terrible abuse in the Catholic Church. By the time the calendar year 2002 ended, the Globe had published a mind-blowing 989 articles. (That's not a typo. Yes, the paper ran an average of over two-and-a-half articles a day on the scandal in a single year. See for yourself.) And the Globe still takes joy in hammering the Church, even if it means reporting clergy abuse in Ireland.
Something wildly unexpected happened the other day: film director Roman Polanski was taken into custody in Switzerland for his rape of a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson’s house in 1977. The grand jury transcript is stomach-turning. His victim, Samantha Gailey, said the director plied her with champagne and drugs and asked her to remove her clothes for pictures in a hot tub. Polanski then had sex with her despite her resistance and requests to be taken home. He pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of sex with a minor, but fearing a prison term, he fled the country.
Now something utterly expected is happening: morally bankrupt libertines in Hollywood and other artistic banana republics are rushing to Polanski’s defense.
Welcome to the world of Roman Polanski, Child Rapist/Victim.
Has-been actress Debra Winger joined the first line of ludicrous defense, since she was president of the jury of the Zurich Film Festival, where Polanski was headed to receive a lifetime achievement award when he was apprehended. Let’s hope Winger is never allowed to serve on a real jury. She simply doesn’t care about Polanski’s guilt. He is a filmmaker and an artist, and for this crowd anything and everything goes.
NBC's Matt Lauer gave a "Today" show guest a free pass when she insisted that director/criminal/former fugitive Roman Polanski did not rape a 13-year-old girl in 1977. Debra Tate, sister of Polanski's late wife Sharon Tate, told Lauer, "There is, as I said, rape and there is rape. It was determined Roman did not forcibly have sex with this young woman. It was a consensual matter."
Lauer's response was simply, "Right."
Tate continued, "I am a victims' advocate, and I know the difference." Lauer agreed, saying "And I understand that, and yes, there is a difference."
Tate was the latest in a parade of Polanski defenders to appear on network television.
At no point in the interview did Lauer bring up the grand jury testimony of the 13-year-old girl which refuted the idea that Polanski's encounter was not "forcible" and that it was consensual. Only later did he note that Polanski did commit statutory rape.
Hollywoodans might be coming out in support of film director and child molester Roman Polanski, but he shouldn't expect to get any from the New York Times.
In what many will likely view as a surprising position by one of the nation's most liberal newspapers, the Times editorial board Tuesday asked some seemingly obvious questions that are eluding those that think the passage of time along with Polanski's great filmography mitigate his transgressions:
After being indicted in 1977, didn’t Mr. Polanski, now 76, confess to having sex with a 13-year-old girl after plying her with Quaaludes and Champagne? Didn’t he flee the United States when the plea bargaining seemed to fall apart, raising the prospect of prison time? Isn’t there a warrant for his arrest?
It's clear that Whoopi Goldberg isn't alone in her belief that what Roman Polanski did to a thirteen-year-old girl in 1977 wasn't that serious, for a growing list of Hollywood's "finest" are coming out in support of the film director while campaigning for his release.
For those unfamiliar, Goldberg said on ABC's "The View" Monday that what Polanski did "wasn't rape-rape."
Now, according to the British Telegraph, others in Tinseltown are offering their support for this child molester:
John Ridley, a former MSNBC co-host and a Huffington Post contributor, used the California state budget crisis as an excuse to forego the extradition of rapist director Roman Polanski on CNN’s Campbell Brown program on Monday: “The people of California- we’re broke. What are we going to do? We’re going to prosecute him with IOUs? Let’s figure out some other way to deal with this for the moment.”
Ridley appeared with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin just after the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour. Anchor Campbell Brown first asked the former MSNBC personality, “This guy [Polanski] raped a 13-year-old girl. Why is Hollywood rallying behind him?” He replied, “Roman Polanski’s story is really interwoven with the Los Angeles story. He came here- he made a seminal film...Rosemary’s Baby. And then, of course, the horrible- the Manson murders would happen to his wife, the Tate-LaBianca murders.....So, I think there are a lot of people who feel like- here’s an individual who represents Hollywood, who’s been persecuted by it, and has really lived a pretty horrible life, and what more can you do to this guy after 30 years...why not...let it rest?”
ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday America continued to raise questions about the arrest of Roman Polanski in Europe, spinning the case as a "31 year-old prosecutorial obsession." According to reporter Nick Watt, the film director has "been hunted since 1978."
The network correspondent observed that Polanski, who is wanted for child rape and was detained in Switzerland, "has some powerful friends." He explained, "Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has released this statement. ‘We're calling on every filmmaker we can to help fix this terrible situation.’" Watt also featured a snippet of ex-child star Melissa Gilbert on The View: "I think [Polanski’s] tried to atone. I think the punishment at this point may be excessive." Actress Debra Winger fawned, "We stand by, awaiting his release and his next masterwork.
Now, ABC did include one clip of a critic of the filmmaker. Professor and child advocate Wendy Murphy asserted that the director should face justice and that "no matter how much you like the guy's movies, he did something really bad." Co-host Robin Roberts also asked Polanski’s agent, "What do you say to his critics, who say even though it's been three decades, that justice hasn't fully been served yet?"
The View's Whoopi Goldberg yesterday offered the most outrageous and despicable defense of child rapist and Hollywood director Roman Polanski yet: "It wasn't rape-rape." That's right. Goldberg tried to claim that Polanksi drugging and having sex with a thirteen year old girl, who repeatedly uttered 'no' to the predator, does not qualify as 'actual' rape (video embedded below the fold).
Polanksi apologists have tried since he was arrested in Switzerland Sunday to excuse his actions on the grounds that he was traumatized by his horrible experiences as a Jew in Nazi-occupied Poland or that he has endured enough punishment since his conviction in 1978. But Goldberg's defense is so far the most insensitive, oafish attempt for an excuse yet (video embedded below the fold):
"How do you say 'FAIL' in Polish," Michelle Malkin quipped in a blog post this morning dealing with Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum, who in a September 27 blog post decried the arrest of Roman Polanski in Zurich the day before.
Applebaum, you may recall, failed to note in that blog post that her husband, Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski, is pleading for Polanski's release. Well, Malkin noted today that Applebaum is defending her lack of full disclosure, despite having been called out on the blogosphere for the glaring omission:
There's a side of America that scares Frenchmen, French Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand was quoted by Time magazine Paris-based writer Bruce Crumley, and it's the side of American determination that doesn't let a 32-year-old rape case die, even if the perpetrator is an elderly survivor of the Holocaust.
Seeking to explain the "cultural divide" that's as "wide as the Atlantic" between America and Europe, Crumley noted that Europeans are "shocked and dismayed that an internationally acclaimed artist" such as Roman Polanski "could be jailed for such an old offense."
Of course, at no point did Crumley cite any public opinion polls with empirical data to back up his argument about the U.S.-European cultural divide on pursuing fugitives who jump bail after drugging and anally raping 13-year-old girls.
Hosts and reporters on Monday's Good Morning America hyperventilated about the arrest of fugitive Roman Polanski. Co-anchor Diane Sawyer worried that the detention of the director accused of child rape has created a "true international incident." Co-host Robin Roberts played up the supposed complexity of situation, referring to the event as an "international chess game."
Reporter Nick Watt fretted, "When Polanski, who is a French citizen, walked into a police trap here at Zurich Airport, he sparked an international row." Highlighting French outrage, he parroted, "This morning, another French minister said, ‘There is a scary America that has just shown its face.’"
In 1977 Polish-born filmmaker and Academy Award winner Roman Polanski pleaded guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, and then fled the United States before he could be sentenced. For three decades he has lived as a fugitive under the protection of the French government. But finally, on Saturday, September 26, the 76-year-old was arrested by the Swiss police after flying in to - ironically - receive an honorary award at the Zurich Film Festival.
Disturbingly, some are up in arms, claiming that - even though Polanski performed oral sex, intercourse and sodomy on a frightened girl he had plied with Champagne and a Quaalude - the incident should be forgotten. One such person is Tom O'Neill, the senior editor of In Touch Weekly. On September 28, during a CNN interview, O'Neill first claimed that Polanski "seduced" the young girl when it's obvious after reading her grand jury testimony that she was raped. Also, during that same interview, O'Neil argued that Polanski shouldn't be extradited to the U.S. for a trial, saying:
Washington Post columnist and blogger Anne Applebaum not only penned a September 27 blog post lamenting the recent arrest by Swiss authorities of child rapist and fugitive from American justice, Roman Polanski, she failed to let readers in on her conflict of interest.
Applebaum is married to Poland's foreign minister, who is lobbying for Polanski's release on bail.
Our good friend Patterico -- who works for the D.A.'s office that put out the arrest warrant -- has details at his blog (h/t La Shawn Barber):
Roman Polanski may be an Oscar-winning brilliant film maker, but he’s also a fugitive from justice, an infamous child rapist who jumped bail and fled to France in 1978 to avoid the consequences of his 1977 rape of a 13-year-old in Los Angeles. Polanski was arrested on Saturday in Zurich on the grounds of the 31-year-old arrest warrant.
It didn’t take long for the Polanski defenders to crawl out of the woodwork. Take Patrick Goldstein, pop culture columnist for the Los Angeles Times, who quickly penned a piece published Sunday afternoon decrying Polanski’s arrest by Swiss authorities.
Apparently, Goldstein is of the opinion that Polanski has suffered enough for his crimes, and the Los Angeles prosecutors should not be spending precious taxpayer money (a phrase which, in reference to California, causes much mental angst) chasing a 76-year-old man around the globe.
Goldstein tugged at readers’ heartstrings by pointing out Polanski’s brushes with the most depraved of the 20th century’s murderers: Polanski was a fugitive from the Nazis as a child and wife was killed by followers of Charles Manson.
Nothing mitigates director Roman Polanski’s unspeakable crime. Certainly Polanski has dealt with personal tragedy on a scale few of us can understand, but that’s not a license to drug, rape and sodomize a 13 year-old girl. Nor is perceived misconduct on the part of the trial judge, nor is the forgiveness of the victim (who reached an out-of-court settlement with Polanski).
And this may come as a surprise to some in Hollywood, but helming a few cinematic masterpieces doesn’t turn someone who anally raped a child into some kind of tragic hero… In all the revisionist history, the simple fact that Polanski plead guilty to “unlawful sex with an underage girl” is seldom mentioned at the top of the special brand of rationalizations extended to our celebrity class.
Well, finally, after 32 years, justice may be done. At the request of the U.S., the Swiss nabbed the 76 year-old fugitive and may extradite: