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Friends in high (low) placesPosted Monday, May 17, 2010, at 9:30 AM
I guess it's good to have friends in high places.
Just this past weekend, a petition surfaced at the Cannes Film Festival asking for support of Roman Polanski, currently under house arrest in Switzerland in connection with a 33-year-old sex scandal.
The petition was making its rounds in Cannes while another actress claimed she was sexually abused by Polanski in 1982.
Some have already signed the petition.
Others have come out vocally in Polanski's defense.
Like Woody Allen.
Allen spoke out in defense of Polanski during the weekend. According to reports, he said, "It's something that happened many years ago ... He's an artist, he's a nice person, he did something wrong and he paid for it.
"They (his critics) are not happy unless he pays (for) the rest of his life. They would be happy if they could execute him in a firing squad. Enough is enough."
Woody Allen is 74, only a few years younger than my grandfather.
But I'm pretty sure my grandfather has more common sense than this dope.
Keep in mind, this did happen in 1977. Sure, it happened many years ago, but justice is justice.
Here's a little background on this.
Polanski was arrested for sexual assault March 11, 1977, of a 13-year-old.
The day before, according to his accuser, he gave her champagne and a Quaalude, before having sex with her, at the home of actor Jack Nicholson.
He was charged by a grand jury with rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor.
During his arraignment, Polanski pleaded not guilty to all charges.
During a plea bargain session, Polanski eventually agreed to plead guilty to unlawful intercourse with a minor.
Polanski was ordered to a 90-day psychiatric evaluation at Chino State Prison in California and was released after 42 days.
At the time, there were expectations and recommendations that Polanski would only receive probation at sentencing, but the judge of the hearing had suggested more jail time and possible deportation could take place.
After hearing this, Polanski fled to France.
Since then, he has been protected from extradition since he is a French citizen. He has also avoided visiting countries that may extradite him.
Due to his fleeing prior to the hearing, all of the original charges remain pending.
Polanski was eventually taken into custody in 2009 in Switzerland and has been under house arrest since.
Throughout the years, several people have come to his defense. In 1997, his accuser wrote an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times asking he be allowed to return to the United States to accept an Academy Award.
In 2002, Polanski won Best Director for the movie, "The Pianist," although he did not accept the award. After the announcement came that he won the award, he received a standing ovation from most present.
Now back to Allen's comments.
Again, according to the report, Allen said -- and I'm paraphrasing, that it happened many years ago. He is an artist and he's paid for it.
Exactly how did Polanski pay for this?
He fled the country prior to sentencing and has never been sentenced, more than likely living quite comfortably during the past 30 years.
I guarantee you if this was "John Smith" off the street, they would not have this luxury.
At least one actor has spoken out about how he would not sign the petition.
Michael Douglas, in Cannes to promote his new film, "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," he said he would not sign the petition because Polanski did break the law.
He did break the law.
He didn't pay for it.
And no, Woody, enough is not enough.
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