I've refrained from commenting about the Roman Polanski controversy for a few reasons. Firstly, every other asshole with an opinion has already done so, so there isn't much left to say. Secondly, I didn't care all that much; so some director (a talented one, I admit) finally got arrested for a thirty-year-old indiscretion. Big deal.
Unfortunately, the shocking response of the so-called Hollywood elite has forced my hand. As Paulo Freire (allegedly) said, "Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral."
I won't rehash any of the details, but to recap: in 1977 Roman Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl champagne and quaalude (known as Mandrax in South Africa), then proceeded to anally rape her despite her begging him to stop. Fearing arrest, Polanski fled authorities and has been on the run ever since, but was finally arrested recently in Switzerland. Let me explain something to you, Polanski. This business requires a certain amount of finesse.
This seems in order, right? A child rapist is arrested and it appears justice is finally served. Sadly, most of Hollywood doesn't see it that way. Following Polanski's arrest, many of the big hitters have come out in support of Polanski. What the fuck? People like Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, David Lynch, Ethan Coen, Harvey Weinstein and Jonathan Demme have signed a petition demanding his release, and other big names have vocally supported him. Whoopi Goldberg has sparked a shitstorm by publicly claiming that it wasn't "rape-rape". I see you like publicity, Ms. Goldberg. Well, you're going to get it.
So how is it that otherwise intelligent and talented people (and Whoopi Goldberg) suddenly become psychotic? Granted, Polanski is a respectable filmmaker. 'Course he's respectable. He's old. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.
Some sympathetic folks say that, being a Holocaust survivor and having suffered his pregnant wife Sharon Tate being slaughtered by Charles Manson's followers, he's endured enough hardship in his life. What can I tell you, kid? You're right. When you're right, you're right, and you're right. I agree that his life has been filled with tragedy, which is something he should've thought about carefully before he raped a child.
The best arguments in defence of Polanski centre around alleged judicial abuse of the case. Polanski claims that he had no idea she was thirteen at the time, and to have pleaded guilty as part of a deal that was then reneged upon, which was why he fled in the first place. You may think you know what you're dealing with, but, believe me, you don't. You see, these arguments are bullshit. As the actual plea bargain transcript points out, he swore before a judge, under oath, that he knew she was only thirteen, and it was made clear to him that he may be sentenced to anything up to twenty years and that the plea bargain guarantees nothing.
The truth is that the Hollywood folks are rallying around Roman Polanski for no other reason than that he is "one of them." He's rich! Do you understand? He thinks he can get away with anything. Do you think that if a nobody like me raped a child, Harvey Weinstein would put my poster up on his wall? Or that Whoopi Goldberg would march the streets in my defence, claiming the kid was asking for it?
Forget it, Jake. It's Hollywood.