no amount of commentary will convince anyone that if Polanski wasn't an acclaimed film director... but rather, say, a priest, no one in Hollywood would be lining up to sign petitions demanding his release.
The Boston Globe makes the same point, asking, "What if Polanski were an abusive priest?" and quoting several ministers and other commentators who feel the same way.
And Salon.com says, "Drugging and raping a child, then leaving the country before you can be sentenced for it, is behavior our society should not tolerate, no matter how famous, wealthy or well-connected you are," and asks this:
Roman Polanski raped a child. Let's just start right there, because that's the detail that tends to get neglected when we start discussing whether it was fair for the bail-jumping director to be arrested at age 76, after 32 years in "exile" (which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar, but never -- poor baby -- being able to return to the U.S.). Let's keep in mind that Roman Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and champagne, then raped her,
Can we do that? Can we take a moment to think about all that, and about the fact that Polanski pled guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, before we start talking about what a victim he is?
The LA Times writer has this:
...a petition calling for Polanski to be freed immediately.
What, because he won an Oscar? Would they speak up for a sex offender who hadn't?
To hear these people tell it, you'd think Polanski was the victim rather than the teenager.
And then there's Woody Allen, who has signed the petition too.
10/6/2009: /film has a link to a NYTimes overview.
11/2/2009: Bright Lights Film Journal asks, "What's on trial?"