Engaging Culture

Roman Polanski and Hollywood Justice

The heated debate on bringing film director Roman Polanski to justice in the U.S. continues, particularly in Hollywood.  If you’re not aware of the situation, in 1977, while at Jack Nicholson’s house in Hollywood, Polanski plied a 13 year old girl with drugs and champagne and then raped her.   He was arrested, but before the trial, skipped the country to avoid prosecution.  But after 32 years in France, when he showed up this month to accept an award at a film festival in Switzerland, he was arrested and is being held for extradition.

However, numerous Hollywood luminaries have rallied to his cause, believing his artistic genius far outweighs the crime.  However, since the petition was released, a wide range of people have come out to support the arrest.  The Los Angeles Times took the lead, and even Jay Leno mentioned it in a monologue when he referred to the way the incident has created two groups of people:  Polanski’s supporters in Hollywood versus everyone with a 13 year old daughter.

From my perspective, a crime is a crime.  Those in Hollywood who signed the petition would never do it for a common criminal, which means they believe artistic talent somehow entitles you to live above justice.  I’d love to know your thoughts, and if you’d like a more in-depth look at the situation, I’d start here.

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  1. Polanski’s supporters in Hollywood think they belong to some kind of an aristocracy that is above the law. This is also true of politicians in Poland and France that have protected him all these years. Like  others that commit this kind of a crime, Polanski should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and the French government pressured to expropriate his property in lieu of the jail time he should already have served.

    A just society must have laws that pertain to all. No exceptions!


  2. Why in the world would someone want to support this guy?  Why is he above the law?  I may not have his artistic talent, but if he ever came to my church, he wouldn’t have a clean toilet to sit on if it wasn’t for me!!  And I bet I could find some freak supporter of “the arts” that could get toilet scrubbing declared an art form.  Then maybe I’d be above the law too!!  Hollywood needs to be brought down a notch or two as far as I’m concerned.


  3. I hope that firstly no one generalizes Hollywood by saying we all support him. There are good people in the industry trying to make a difference. And guess what-they’re not all Christians. It’s so easy to point the finger at a faceless entity. Having said that, as Phil said, “a crime is a crime,” and he should be tried as any other individual would if they committed such crime. However, looking at our current economic status as a state can we really affford another trial right now when so many more significant issues can use our attention and money? I honestly hadn’t thought about this until I read a blog from LA Times writer Patrick Goldstein. For instance, to name just a few issues: education, health care, and let’s not forget our CURRENT crime epidemic: human trafficking. As we all know people can run from their unrepenting sin but they cannot hide. For now I suggest we pray that our state would deal with this matter in wisdom and let the Lords will be done in that man’s life.

  4. Are you serious? Can we afford it? You got to be crazy? So a girl doesn’t deserve justice because of our economic situation.. More siginificant issues? I think rape is a big one..

  5. In general I agree with the mood of everyone here.  I share Paul’s amazement at Sal’s suggestion that we should let underage be excused because of the economy, BUT I DO THINK SAL HAS ONE GOOD POINT: Let’s stop saying things like “Hollywood is trying to…” because that makes no more sense than statements like “Those Christians all…”  After all, I think our host Phil fits into that Hollywood label.

  6. There is no need for aother trial, unless they want to charge him with leaving the country.

    He pled guilty. We just need the sentecing phase. That’s all that’s left.

  7. This a parallel/off-topic comment, but how many times do WE (Christians) let Christian leadership off the hook on theological “crimes” because they are revered as celebrities in Christian circles. I’m not talking about anything as atrocious as child-rape, but I’ve read plenty of material from people in the Christian leadership community that violates the general principles of Christianity and Biblical standards with the defense of doing whatever it takes to reach the world. And it’s okay because these celebrity leaders are noted as being the great philosophers of our day. In other words, we are guilty of wanting to give Christian leadership clemency for ideals that we know are wrong because they are Christian celebrities. And then this trickles down to the local church level, where we allow our pastors to cross the theological line because of the “authority” that they have being “chosen” by God. We even grant this kind of amnesty to the “creatives” (which in and of itself sounds like an aristocrat title) who take care of our media messages. My point is, we can take this horrific scenario and apply a less sickening version of it to ourselves – with Christians being “Hollywood” and Christian celebrity leadership being “Polanski”, who are forgiven because of their “artistry”. We apply our own type of justice and can be just as hypocritical. The scary thing is, the Polanski fiasco is cut and dry for us as Christians, whereas we make compromises with Christian leadership celebrity’s messages a little bit at a time, making it harder to feel until it’s too late; as we buy into little lies mixed in with what we know to be true – until we can’t tell the difference anymore. And that’s a tactic used by another “celebrity” that most of the world follows. Just a crazy, rambling sidebar to this story. Everyone seems to have a strong consensus that Polanski should not receive special treatment because of his artistry (as do I), so I thought I’d just throw in something else to think about.

  8. The vast preponderance of stuff coming out of Hollywood is diametrically opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the name becomes generalized to represent the negative. For example the huge pornographic industry is situated where? Not far from Hollywood!

    I don’t think its too great a stretch to compare it to God’s conversation with Abraham regarding Sodom and Gomorah. Are there enough rightous people to make the city worth saving? If the Lord has placed you as a media professional in Hollywood, let the world hear about it with the results of your work! Stop thinking it’s enough to witness to the food catering guy, (as important as that may be) while at the same time contributing to another vacuous or otherwise offensive project.

    So far I only hear a few whispers from Hollywood brothers and sisters…that’s one reason I follow this blog.


  9. Sal,

    If Roman had raped your daughter or sister, you’d be the first in line asking for justice, regardless of the educational issues of the country. Interesting, this whole movement to give Mr. Polanski some lenience based on his talent is the same thinking we’ve seen with NFL players who, until recently, got by with crimes because of their talent on the field.

    Hopefully our courts will decide that artistic license does not extend to raping a 13 year-old-girl.

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