There's no question that Roman Polanski is one of the greatest living directors. It's also clear that he's had tragedy in his life: he survived the Holocaust as a child in Poland and grieved the murder of his pregnant wife Sharon Tate by Charles Manson followers in 1969.
But no matter how mishandled his legal case was in the '70s after he plead guilty to having unlawful sexual relations with a 13-year-old after giving her champagne and part of a quaalude — he has evaded punishment and lived a life of luxury as a celebrated artist in Europe for over 30 years. I was taken aback when I read that 138 people in the film industry, including Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese, have signed a petition voicing their opposition to his recent arrest in Zurich, Switzerland, on his way to a ceremony honoring him.
Is there something unseemly about a group (largely made up of men) in a notoriously sexist industry standing up for someone who hasn't been punished for his sexual crime against a child? Is the fact that Polanski is an artist somehow a mitigating factor? I found it particularly galling that Woody Allen — who had an affair with his partner Mia Farrow's adopted teenage daughter and is now married to her — spoke out about what film producer Harvey Weinstein is calling "a terrible situation"? But that's me — what do you think?