There’s tone deaf, and then there’s this new interview with Roman Polanski in the Hollywood Reporter.
In what the media outlet calls a “rare press interview”, the 84-year-old, who’s been on the run from US law enforcement for more 40 years, brushes off his drug-rape of a 13-year-old in 1977 as something that was “over”, then went on to moan that the time he’d already served in detention and house arrest was more than what he’d been promised in a plea bargain.
“As far as what I did: it’s over. I pleaded guilty,” Polanski whined. “I went to jail. I came back to the United States to do it, people forget about that, or don’t even know. I then was locked up here [in Zurich] after this festival. So in the sum, I did about four or five times more than what was promised to me.”
He went on to complain that his films were now “unfortunately” viewed through the filter of the case.
Polanski pleaded guilty in 1977 to the statutory rape of Samantha Geimer, who he had plied with champagne and a sedative during a modelling shoot. Polanski spent 42 days in jail prior to being sentenced but fled the country when released on bail in 978, scared that he was going to be given a lengthy prison sentence. He subsequently spent almost a year under house arrest in Switzerland, while the country considered, and eventually rejected, a US extradition request.
US prosecutors have refused to let the case rest, despite repeated attempts by the director to settle it so he can travel freely. He is currently confined to his country of residence, France, is birth country, Poland, and Switzerland.
Polanski argues that he was promised in his original plea bargain that he wouldn’t have to serve further jail time, but US prosecutors are determined to see him face court. A number of other women have come forward over the years to complain that Polanski also sexually abused them as teenagers.
In the latest interview, though, he complains that the judges who original dealt with his case were “corrupt”.
But Maureen Callahan, a high-profile columnist for the New York Post, argues that the interview itself is just another example of Hollywood pandering to a self-confessed child rapist. In the past, stars ranging from Johnny Depp to Mia Farrow and Whoopi Goldberg have defended him, with Goldberg claiming that what he did “wasn’t rape-rape”.
When he was arrested in Switzerland in 20009, more than 100 celebrities siged a petition demanding his release.
“Only in Hollywood could the brutal rape of a child be fantasised away,” Callahan writes. “In her grand jury testimony, Geimer (then Gailey), barely a teenager, describes Polanski giving her part of a Quaalude, denying her pleas to ‘go home’, then raping her vaginally and anally.”