Roman Roundup: Backlash Builds as Polanski and Co. Fight Back
Another day, another flurry of activity from the front lines of the Roman Polanski Culture War, where the embattled, incarcerated filmmaker and his Hollywood supporters have found unlikely enemies and allies in Day Four of conflict. Read on for a tour of the trenches -- bring a helmet, flak jacket and gas mask just in case.
· For those of you waiting for the New York Times to weigh in before choosing a side regarding Polanski's arrest in Switzerland, your wait is over. Surprisingly so, perhaps, with the left-leaning, Hollywood-friendly newspaper coming out unequivocally for the director's extradition and sentencing in his 31-year-old rape case. "[W]here is the injustice in bringing to justice someone who pleads guilty to statutory rape and then goes on the lam, no matter how talented he may be?" this morning's editorial concludes. "[T]his case has nothing to do with Mr. Polanski's work or his age. It is about an adult preying on a child. Mr. Polanski pleaded guilty to that crime and must account for it." Well, there go Harvey Weinstein's ad dollars. (What's left of them.)
· L'Affaire Polanski is taking its toll on France, where reaction to the countryman's arrest is essentially split down class lines. That said, the government hours ago officially reversed its support for Polanski, arguing that he "is neither above nor beneath the law." Which, of course, does nothing to explain why it embraced him as a fugitive for 31 years, but one thing at a time, I suppose. The Polish are reconsidering their support as well (via MCN).
· Meanwhile, the sister of Polanski's murdered wife Sharon Tate dropped by the Today Show this morning to declare his, um, innocence? "There's 'rape,' and then there's 'rape,'" Debra Tate told Matt Lauer, adding that his unlawful sex with a minor was "consensual. [...] I am a victims advocate, and I know the difference." Here, shudder for yourself:
· Elsewhere in the U.S., Polanski's legal team welcomed Washington heavy-hitter Reid Weingarten to the squad. And this may or may not come in handy: U.S. attorney general Eric Holder is one of Weingarten's closest friends.
· IFC helpfully offers up eight offensive quotes on the Polanski situation, but your Outraged Anti-Polanski Screed of the Day comes from the Village Voice's Allison Benedikt, who beats down Hollywood's outpouring of apologist logic one devastating blow at a time:
Maybe you don't know that Roman has suffered enough. It's actually a fact! "The real tragedy," confirms Patrick Goldstein in the L.A. Times, "is that he will always, till his death, be snubbed and stalked and confronted by people who think the price he has already paid isn't enough." That is a tragedy. With all that's been going on, I really have a newfound respect for rapists that get snubbed. That Oscar Roman got was really f***ing confrontational. Asshole statue.
· And let's end with a loophole proposed by one of Nikki Finke's commenters who, while scanning Polanski's guilty plea from 1978, spotted a passage in which Polanski acknowledged knowing that the late judge Laurence Rittenband reserved the right to scrap his plea deal. That would be the same plea deal cited by Team Polanski, many of whom argue the director only left the country because the paranoid, publicity-mad Rittenband welshed on their agreement:
District Attorney: Do you understand that at this time, the Court has not made any decision as to what sentence you will receive?
Polanski: (No response.)
District Attorney: Do you understand that the Judge has not made any decision?
That doesn't necessarily mitigate the misconduct claims in the widely cited documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, but as extradition-appeal plot thickeners go, you could probably do worse. Developing...