Roman Polanski is a child rapist beloved by Hollywood and the entertainment industry worldwide. On October 30, he was honored at an extravaganza in Paris for his wonderful work.
Polanski is accused of molesting four women—the latest of which is an actress who last month said he raped her when she was 15. Even he acknowledges that he drugged and raped a 13-year-old in the 1970s.
Does it matter to Polanski's colleagues that he is a molester? Not many. According to the New York Times, at Monday's event film director Costa-Gavras rushed to defend Polanski: He said it was not the business of his organization, Cinémathèque, to act as an "arbiter of morality"; his group sponsored the event.
Costa-Gavras, however, has a record of being an "arbiter of morality." He took it upon himself in 2003 to make a movie, "Amen," that told out-and-out lies about the Catholic Church's role during the Holocaust. He blamed the Church for being "silent" about the Nazi genocide—a position that has been widely and authoritatively discredited—and even created a fictional character, a Jesuit priest, to promote his propaganda.
No one can blame Costa-Gavras for being silent about his rapist buddy. No, he has long been on Polanski's side. In 2009, he was one of more than 100 prominent filmmakers, actors, producers, and technicians who signed a petition defending the rights of the child rapist. The petition
was organized by Harvey Weinstein who has more recently been accused of serial sexual abuse.
Alleged child abuser Woody Allen signed the petition in defense of Polanski, as did Pedro Almodovar and Martin Scorsese, all of whom have made movies attacking the Catholic Church.
Polanski was arrested in September 2009 for what he did in 1977. He got a 13-year-old girl drunk, forced her to take a Quaalude with champagne, and then tried to rape her in a Jacuzzi. She resisted. Then he followed her into a bedroom, kissed her, and performed oral sex on her. Then he had intercourse with her. Then he had anal sex with her.
And what did the Hollywood crowd and their European counterparts do when Polanski was arrested? They signed a petition in his defense. Weinstein’s company said, "We are calling upon every filmmaker we can to help fix this terrible situation." The "terrible situation" was not sodomizing a girl; it was restrictions on Polanski's travel plans.
Weinstein garnered plenty of support for Polanski. "Obviously, my sympathies are with Roman," said Robert Towne, winner of an Oscar for his role in "Chinatown." He added, "I have great respect and affection for him."
Debra Winger, the Zurich Film Festival Jury President, said of Polanski at the time, "We stand by and await his release and his next masterwork." Her organization even blasted Switzerland for arresting Polanski, accusing it of "philistine collusion." In other words, those who object to a Hollywood mogul molesting a child have no respect for the arts.
Weinstein gave cover to these stars by writing an op-ed at the time referring to what Polanski did as a "so-called crime." What he was saying is that it is a "so-called crime" to ply a child with alcohol and drugs, and then rape her orally, vaginally, and anally. Whoopi Goldberg agreed, saying "I don't believe it was 'rape-rape.'"
This is a window into the mind of Hollywood. Hollywood criticized molesting priests, but unlike virtually all Catholics who also condemned the offending clergymen, the celebrities continue to be quite at home defending sexual abusers in their own ranks.
No one at the time of Polanski's arrest explained the Hollywood mind better than Weinstein. Referring to the outpouring of support for his beleaguered friend, he said, "Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion." It sure does—for the rapist, that is.
Bill Donohue is President and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of seven books and many articles.