Entertainment behind the scenes
Europeans celebrated and stunned U.S. officials vowed to try again to extradite director Roman Polanski if they ever find a “cooperative” jurisdiction in the future.
But where was Hollywood on Monday when Polanski finally won his freedom in Switzerland and avoided a showdown in California over the rape of a 13 year-old girl in 1977? Largely silent, despite having awarded Polanski a best director Oscar for his searing 2002 movie “The Pianist”, set in a World War Two ghetto.
For all the criticism in parts of the media of so-called Hollywood liberals, U.S. supporters of Polanski were hardly standing up to be counted on the day Switzerland rejected a U.S. bid to extradite the film director to face sentencing over having unlawful sex with a minor more than 30 years ago.
In Europe on the other hand, where Polanski has lived, made movies, and carried on as a living film legend, politicians and artists issued warm statements welcoming his return to the creative community and noting Polanski’s painful personal history as a man who escaped the Holocaust, only to see his pregnant wife murdered by followers of Charles Manson in 1969.
Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland more than 30 years since he fled the United States for France after pleading guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl. At the time in 1978, Polanski agreed that he would be sentenced to 42 days that he already had served in jail, but he became convinced a judge would overrule that agreement and send him back to prison for as many as 50 years. You can read about his arrest here.
In 2008, a film documentary “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” made the rounds at theaters. It had interviews with lawyers involved in the original case and with the victim, Samantha Geimer, who is now a mother living in Hawaii. Geimer has said that what Polanski did to her was wrong, but that he has paid the price and should be spared any more jail time.