September 29th, 2009
07:10 PM ET

Hollywood elite to Swiss: free Polanski now

Roman Polanski's got friends in high places.  Whether they can really burnish his image is another matter.

Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton are among the showbiz luminaries who have signed a petition demanding Polanski's release. 

The famed director was picked up in Zurich, Switzerland on Saturday and faces possible extradition to the U.S. on a child sex case that dates back to 1977.

I can see some value in having Scorsese and Swinton in your corner, but Woody Allen?  He faced a sex scandal of his own involving the adopted daughter of his former partner, Mia Farrow.

Actor/writer Buck Henry and director John Landis  also signed the petition.  Landis was charged (and later acquitted) of involuntary manslaughter years ago in the deaths of two child actors on the set of the movie, "Twilight Zone".

As for Henry, fans of  "Saturday Night Live's" early years will recall he played a recurring character on the show, a cheesy pedophile named Uncle Roy who was always trying to get two girls (played by Gilda Radner and Lorraine Newman) to pose for Polaroid shots.

Do you think these are good candidates to speak out on Polanski's behalf?


soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Shane

    If these petition signers are so concerned about a fellow "artist" who's crime was committed so long ago, why don't they cry out for the release of Phillip and Nancy Garrido?

    October 16, 2009 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. Carl

    Shame on anyone who would support Polanski on this matter, Hollywood types and nations alike. They will surely suffer a backlash for their views. I for one will no longer pay any attention (or money) to them.

    October 1, 2009 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Beth

    First of all, the man should be strung up and flogged.

    His crimes are unspeakable and the fact that some of his defenders claim that those very crimes were a "little mistake" speaks volumes about the type of people he consorts with.

    Secondly, I will be boycotting (actively, mind you) any film that boasts the involvement of any of the signing parties of the petition. With Hollywood already under fire because of piracy; did they really need another reason for people to STOP going to the movies?

    Well, they certainly got one.

    October 1, 2009 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jo

    I think what impresses me the most in this whole sorry saga is the nearly complete disgust and anger of the general population – and their constant reminders of the CRIME commited and not the popularity of the man, Mr Polanski. It gives one hope that Hollywood does not dictate the opinions of normal people. And it's a real shame when people are blinded by friendship/popularity/genius – and think that sets them above the law. Crime deserves punishment.
    This is what prevents us from descending into anarchy.

    October 1, 2009 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jan

    I have worked in and closely observed Hollywood for a long time.

    The Powerful and the considered-to-be Artistic Genius individuals too often get a way with crimes including rape, murder, manslaughter, sedution of a child through use of alcohol and drugs, the age old casting couch being used on a naive young person especially when gifts promises & feel-good pills are thrown in.

    Too often they intoduce the children too early to a life of underage drinking, drugs, violence, sex, and lost childhood.

    Roman Palanski was found quilty and plead guilty to a terrible crime, one that is so unthinkable that oher prisoners often will not accept pedifiles. It is never too late to send to prison a runaway. Bravo to Switzerland for arresting him.

    It is time for all Americans, courts, judges, juries, our President, to stand up to Hollywood and other entertainment capitals. We are a nation of equal laws for all peopl no matter matter what your power or artistic genius. I am an artist. I expect equal treatment under the law...not better...not wose.

    Stand up now America for all victims no matter how powerful or popular the evil doer is. It is time for this crime wave with no punishment to end.

    October 1, 2009 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
  6. Gayle

    He was a grown man taking advantage of a 13 year old girl.
    He should up to his crime!

    October 1, 2009 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. Gayle

    I am sure the 13 year old girl didn't want Mr polanski to sodamize her.
    He should face prosecution!

    October 1, 2009 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. mdwilliams

    It saddens and angers me that artists I have long admired and respected (Scorsese, Winger, Lynch, Swinton) are defending Polanski. there is a real and serious gap in their humanity if they can look at a situation in which a 13 year old girl was drugged and raped, and their empathy lies with the rapist. apparently they believe there is something about talent and celebrity that should raise Polanski above the law.

    but for all that Polanski may be an artistic genius, he drugged and raped a child–and then fled so that he could not be sentenced. it's unconscionable that anyone would defend his behavior–on any basis.

    October 1, 2009 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sue Burnside

    30 Sept 2009

    GeeWizFolks! REALLY? Just a "little" indescretion a long time ago did Polanski make? No big deal now? And his arrest is gonna spoil the grand party film people have made for him! Boo-Hoo!
    Polanski pleaded guilty to a lesser charge so he wouldn't have a rape-of-a-child charge against him & blemmish his reputation in Hollowwood & beyond.
    The victim's mother agreed to a lesser charge, unfortunately, but understandably. She didn't want her daughter to suffer anything more from the assault ordeal.
    Unfortunately, this legally let Polanski get away with entrapping a CHILD, drugging her with alchohol and a quaalude, raping her in various ways, photographing her nude, not caring that the CHILD kept saying NO.
    And, oh my! 42 days in a psychiatric hospital for observation because of his confessed crime IS trying on a persons' nerves, to be sure. But THAT wasn't Doing Time, as any of us who'd confessed to the same crime would have had to do.
    Swiss law does NOT protect such criminals; maybe it protected his bank account, but NOT his assault on a child.
    Oh, boo-hoo and what a party spoiler! The crime happened 31 years ago, & Polanski's an old man now and a great filmmaker which OF COURSE makes up for the assault.
    If Polanski "should" be set free, then release nazis who murdered his mother and 6million Jewish peoples plus millions of others. Release all the Catholic Priests who've been found guilty of child molestation years ago.
    I do have to question, however: what took so long to grab him? Surely he wasn't in France the entire time? Did he "Plea" , using his money , to have authorities ignore his WANTED status? Granted: our U.S. nation isn't well-liked around the world, and hasn't been much liked for decades, what with our arrogance & "Crusader" mentality and all. Still, it makes me wonder.
    Defending a person who admitted to drugging & raping repeatedly a 13 year old CHILD, & refusing to take full responsibility for his actions, is WAY BEYOND LOGIC.
    Stand up for Darfur peoples. Stand up for Peace in the Middle East. Stand up for Health Care for ALL people in U.S.
    But, Stand Down around Polanski's crime.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jennifer

    I'm sure lots of victims don't want their crime bring dragged up 30 years down the line after they have put in all that work to move past it. It doesn't mean the crime wasn't committed or that the perpetrator shouldn't be punished. I feel sorry for her that she is going through this but she has to see that the message has to be out that you cannot get away with this no matter who your friends are.
    The fact that these are some of the most respected names in film disgusts me to be honest.

    September 30, 2009 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. LBW

    If he had raped Peter Fonda's daughter, would Fonda be saying, "What's the point"? When I read what he did to that child, I was mad and yes, he needs to serve time. Cold cases are being solved due to DNA and people are being sent to jail for these old crimes. He should too. He's a freak.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Patty

    I am so pleased to see the reaction of non stars- real people. Polanski molested a child. End of discussion. He fled the country. Now he's been caught. Book 'em and throw away the key.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mark Ricks

    You have to be kidding me, right? This is exactly the kind of cause celebre that brands us moderate to liberals on both Coasts and blue states as a bunch of nuts! When is Hollywood going to learn to lend support to their causes in a much more veiled way, than to continue raising the ire of conservatives.

    Regarding Polanski, he needs to serve the time he gets when he is extradited back to the U.S. I am disapointed in Martin Scorcese and Debra Winger for coming out in support of him. I wonder if it was one of their daughters or grand-daughters that had been raped at 13, if they would feel the same way.

    September 30, 2009 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joanne

    The utter arrogance of these supporters is beyond comprehension. The man is a pedophile, thirty years in exile isn't going to change that fact. He's a coward and should be held accountable for the dispicable crime he committed. As for his supporters, you sicken me.

    September 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dee

    I saw that people are saying he would not get a fair trial, that shows how little they know, he had a trial, pleaded guilty, and then fled before sentencing, he is and always will be a child molester, and should be treated as such, whether he is extradited or not.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  16. SILVIA ECKSTEIN

    I would agree to extradite Polanski except for one fact: the girl (now a woman) who he raped doesn't want it. I understand that she wants to leave everything behind her. It's been a long time since then and she probabbly had therapy, is probably married and has a family. Extraditing Polanski now would mean to relive her ordeal and would put her family through everything she wants to forget. I think one should respect her wishes. She was the victim and should be left alone to live her, hopefully happy life, let it go. It's too late. He should have been prosecuted 31 years ago now it's stupid. Let her live her life.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Debra R

    What do you expect from Woody Allen? he is a pediphile too....

    How about we start a petition of people who want to see this scumbag go to jail. Put my name at the top of the list.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  18. JOHN

    I think this a wonderful opportunity for change. I recently read that many registered sex offenders in the US cannot find a place to live.

    It appears that France does not have this same aversion.

    I suggest that they release Mr. Polanski after negotiating a treaty permitting registered sex offenders from the US a preference in immigration to France. We silly Americans can let the French show us all to handle them (the pedophiles).

    September 30, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  19. txkboy

    Polanski drugged and sodomized a teenage girl. Pleads guilty, then flee's the country. If he's not guilty, why did he run?? As far as the other Hollyweirds backing him up, it just goes to show you how far from reality they really are. He's a criminal and should be treated as such. Ah, but then there's the French. Who cares. It's the French.

    September 30, 2009 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  20. Glenn

    Excuse me, but no one is above the law. Nixon found that out the hard way. It seems that you can be forgiven for almost anything if you're rich, powerful, or one of the "beautiful people".

    He may have made some good films but doesn't excuse the fact that he raped a 13 year old child–not a young woman–a child. This isn't a case of a romantic affair between a 20 year old guy and a consenting 16 or 17 year old (still not old enough). It's a case of a letcherous 43 year old who got a 13 year old child drunk and rape her. There was no consent, no romance, no "little mistake".

    I understand and simpathize with the victim who just wants the past to be just that and get on with her life, but I'm sickened that the euro-trash and Hollywood elite can be so stupid to think that this is no big deal. Another example of how rich and famous people think the law doesn't apply to them–or least it doesn't apply equally in a land where everyone is supposed to be created equal.

    September 30, 2009 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  21. Kathy

    He had sex with a 13 year old. He should be jailed like any other child molester. What in the world could these people be thinking...other than Woody Allen who thinks it is perfectly normal. Hollywood is so out of touch with reality!!!!

    September 30, 2009 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  22. Melissa

    When I saw this report, all I could do was shake my head and sigh. What can anyone say? Their defence of him is baffling.

    September 30, 2009 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  23. zjconley

    THIS MAN SHOULD NOT BE FORGIVEN!!!!!!! If we forgive him then why don't we just forgive all the sex offenders in the US!! I mean come on this man gave a 13 year old girl champaign and had sex with this girl!!! He is just as bad as a child molester in a small town! He committed a crime and he should pay. So lets just say I go out and kill someone tonight and thirty years later they find me i guess that means that I shouldn't be convicted of murder just because it happened thirty years ago, right? Just because this guy did some work in Hollywood and his name is big doesn't mean that he is below the law!!!! I don't give a crap if it happened thirty years ago or ten seconds ago, he had sex with an underage girl. Which in my opinion is one of the worst crimes to commit, he stole her innocence. He's a child raper AND HE SHOULD BE TREATED LIKE ONE!!!!!!!!

    September 30, 2009 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
  24. Mary Anderson

    It is appalling that ANYONE could say that Roman Polanski should get away with the 30 year old rape of a 13 year old girl. If he had any decency at all he would go to California and face his charges like a man instead of a runaway. If he had done this in the first place instead of skipping out for 30 years and hiding he would not have to face this now. He is actually subjecting himself to the bad graces of the American public. Perhaps all of those in the film industry who think this was just a technicality should leave their own 13 year old daughters alone with him for a night with drugs and alcohol. In fact, I think the French, if they really believe this is okay, are fermented by all the wine they drank as kids. Of COURSE this 13 year old wanted this over. How embarassing, humiliating, and even now that experience has to be awful to remember. Anal rape? Shame on anyone who thinks this is okay!!!! Face the music, twirp Polanski. For shame!!!

    September 30, 2009 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
  25. carol kesling

    these movie stars are in a league all their own !!!!! they dont have a clue how the rest of us live-– they are called RULES !!!!! and EVEN THEY HAVE TO LIVE BY THEM !!!! of course they DONT think so..... be careful what you wish for hollywood, you might just get it !!!!

    September 30, 2009 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  26. John

    This is UNBELIEVABLE. This man RAPED and SODOMIZED and DRUGGED a 13-year-old girl that repeatedly said "NO." She was 3 years below the age of consent, and he pleaded GUILTY in court and then fled the country. On what planet must you be living to publicly come out and lobby for him and not enforce US laws against raping children??? Hollywood is unbelievable.

    September 30, 2009 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  27. Debby Butler

    I don't care how long ago the crime was, or if the victim forgave him. He fled the country like a coward. He fled to France to be free, another cowardly act. He did a crime he should be punished. I'm sure all those celebrites wouldn't support him if he raped their children. He probably would have been killed a long time ago. Because he fled, I haven't watched any thing he made. Being a rapist,, who got off, never watched anything he has made, Mad that a loser was able to make movies.

    September 30, 2009 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  28. Debby Butler

    When you have sex with a minor like Roman Polasky, Woody Allen is the last person you would admit supported you. He slept with his daughter figure, Who knows when that started, so it is a pedifile defending a pedifile.

    September 30, 2009 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  29. Myra

    Roman Poliski should be brought back to the US and be punished even tho it was 30 odd years ago he should have stayed here and took his punishment then If he did the crime he should do the time. Hollywood should really stop and think before they open their mouths, they don't have a clue to whats going on in the real world

    September 29, 2009 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  30. J. Killam

    Would Roman have wanted Manson to go free? Breaking the law is breaking the law. What he did was horrible and just worse i think because his victim is getting violated everytime this is in the news, and she is now at the point that she just wants it to go away so she can move on, When a victim is so exploited that she begs for the charges to be dropped, it is because she can't take it any longer. I think he not only should face the charges of what he did but for evading the law for so long. And as far as Hollywood standing up for him, they will say anything for a few bucks or an award, just put it in the script! The ones who stand up for him are idiots! America needs to stand up for our children and let the world know that we WILL NOT turn our heads to child sex crimes! EVER!

    September 29, 2009 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  31. dismayed

    Honestly, I resent them being "elite". If they don't have enough sense and good enough morals to realize it's wrong to let a man get away with such an offense, they aren't "elite" in my book.

    September 29, 2009 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  32. chris

    What is wrong with these people??? A 13 year old child, CHILD, was drugged and raped by a 43 year old pervert... , who fled the country to avoid punishment. Working in hollywood makes him exempt from facing the criminal charges that he caused to linger for 30+ years? If this is the case, please, all derelichs pack your bags and head west!!!!

    September 29, 2009 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lori

      I too was a victom of child molestation that started 45 years ago or maybe longer.I am now 49 years old and wish that the person (my older sister) who molested me could now be punished!! I had no one to help me, My parents blamed it all on her "mental illness" saying she didn't mean the mean, horrible, terrorizing things she done to her younger sisters and brothers, one of my brothers is really "messed up mentaly" because of what she did to us, he is now 50 and has never been able to have a relationship with a woman, he stays alone mostly and is afraid of woman. He always wanted a wife and family but never was able to do to his mental state caused by our sister Linda.
      Can she still be punished for this crime?? I feel that is the only way us "younger siblings" can ever forgive, forget and move on to hopefully a more normal life.
      Does anyone know any laws on this?

      September 6, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  33. ng

    Roman Polanski is a coward!!! He ran from the law. A crime is a crime and he should be punished. These so called elite think they are above the law. I hope this coward stays in jail for the rest of his miserable life.

    September 29, 2009 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  34. kevin conway

    Landis also killed Actor Vic Morrow on that set. In fact Morrow was decapitated, because arrogant Landis wanted the helicopters to come in lower, lower. The kids weren't even supposed to be working that late.

    And producer Steven Spielberg, yes Steven Speilberg settled with the Morrow family out of court for a tidy sum.

    When they talk of the towering talents of these people, including Robert Downey Jr. heading down Pacific Coast Highway out of his mind and with a gun, you can only respond paraphrasing Mel Brooks, "So? And Hitler liked his dog."

    Google Busby Berkley while you're at it. He too, was a killer.

    September 29, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  35. DV

    These celebrities are completely void of any common sense. This man perpetrated a horrific criminal act on a child. He is a sleazy excuse for a human being. This is a no brainer, but brains are not one of Hollywood's strongsuits.

    September 29, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Teri WA

    I am so disappointed in the film makers and actors that have signed this list that I will no longer see any movie they make or play a part in. What they are saying is that justice does count for them. I suggest they all move to France immediately. And, I was a fan of Debra Winger and Woody Allen.

    September 29, 2009 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |

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