Skip to content

Is Hollywood Really Backing Polanski?

October 7, 2009

Filmmaker Woody Allen, who has his own sordid history of sex with young girls, is one of Roman Polanski's defenders.

A month ago it would have been hard to predict that Roman Polanski would be such a big player in the news right now.  As Polanski loses his first attempt to be released from Swiss authorities the controversy over his arrest continues to stir.  While the infamous petition grows, criticism for Hollywood continues to mount.

However, when we take a second look at the list a challenging fact emerges: it may not be all that representative of Hollywood.

Last night Red Eye host Greg Gutfeld weighed in on what should be done with Polanski:

“I want him to come to America.  I want him to go through a trial because I want the spectacle and I want to report on it every night.  And I want to see Hollywood have to defend him over and over again and pay for their idiocy.”

If Polanski is shipped back here, it would be interesting to see how Hollywood handles the situation when it’s sitting in their lap. Though, most of Hollywood isn’t really defending Polanski. Sure, there are Hollywood players like David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, and Woody Allen who signed the petition. But these directors don’t live in Hollywood. Scorsese and Allen are well-known for being New York-based filmmakers.

Be that as it may, the buzz over these names has managed to overshadow the majority of names on the list which are primarily from foreign countries.

The Los Angeles Times brings up a good point:

“There’s no petition going around with the names of the real Hollywood elite — A-list filmmakers and studio chiefs like Steven Spielberg, Alan Horn, James Cameron, Amy Pascal, Jerry Bruckheimer, Brian Grazer, Tom Rothman, J.J. Abrams, John Lasseter or Michael Bay — because the real Hollywood elite isn’t supporting Polanski. In fact, they haven’t offered the slightest hint of backing for Polanski. It’s only European and New York-based artists, who clearly see the world in a very different light than the real Hollywood elite.”

It may be easy to assume that all of Hollywood is out of touch and would certainly support something as disgusting as a child rapist.  It is important to note that while there are many associated with Hollywood that are standing for Polanski, most of the film capital’s biggest names are nowhere near this issue.  This is most likely because they know there is no defense for the rape of a child.

My friend and colleague David Swindle and I have been discussing Polanski for a while now.  While we understand that there is no shortage of crazies in Hollywood, this issue has no geographical boundaries.  The petition is full of names from all over the film industry, most of them being part of the industry in Europe. David said,

As a cinephile and frequent critic of leftism in film I find it irritating when my fellow conservatives criticize Hollywood while knowing next to nothing about the film industry. This is the fact: “Hollywood” does not refer to every film ever made. It specifically refers to mainstream films made and released by the studios located in Hollywood, California. Films made by independent filmmakers or filmmakers in other countries cannot be called “Hollywood” films. Hollywood cannot be blamed for them. For example, when I posted a blog onto Free Republic about how Hollywood is certainly leftist but a majority of their films are apolitical I got a Freeper attacking me for it. He couldn’t really rebut my argument so he started making ad hominem claims against me for being young and going against conventional wisdom. When I calmed him down and started talking facts with him he pointed out that films that Hollywood makes often portray the military in a negative light. He gave me three or four examples, among them was the Danny Boyle-directed zombie horror film “28 Days Later.” I responded to him explaining that Hollywood cannot be blamed for “28 Days Later.” It was financed by and made in Great Britain. And so with this understanding of a diverse film industry in mind I almost have to smack myself for not realizing this sooner: it’s not Hollywood that supports Polanski, it’s mainly a small group of independent, artsy, and foreign filmmakers. So while there are plenty of cudgels to hit “Hollywood” with, I’m not sure this is the right one. A majority of Hollywood does not support child rape.

It is important to know that the film industry is much larger than Hollywood itself.  At this point, most of Hollywood has not come out to support Polanski.  In fact, there have been more people in or associated with Hollywood speaking against Polanski than the number of them on the petition.  There is just a scattering of players from the film industry as a whole who are supporting this petition.  Until more of what we consider the “Hollywood elite” come out to defend Polanski, we cannot write this off as a crazy Tinseltown issue.

  1. October 7, 2009 7:49 pm

    “Films made by independent filmmakers or filmmakers in other countries cannot be called “Hollywood” films”.

    To take “Hollywood” as a geographical location instead of an industry in order to minimize the import of the defense of Polanski is disingenuous. How and where a film maker starts out is irrelevant and immaterial. Successful independent and foreign film makers more often than not end up working on “Hollywood” movies. These are the American film industry’s nursery, award giving peers and role models. The average ticket buying customer would consider “Hollywood” for the purposes of moral criticism to be the entire American film industry, including it’s adjuncts – foreign and domestic. And since the biggest impact of this episode is likely to come at the ticket counter I submit that the customer’s definition is the one with the most objective meaning.

    The point that the most mainstream and monetarily successful film makers have not signed the petition would be much more persuasive if they weren’t also those who had the most to lose. Their core audience being composed of the very folks most likely to take public support for a fugitive child rapist amiss.

    I see the “narrative” that goes with this story as an industry that has routinely bashed the culture six ways to Sunday and has purposely alienated a large segment of their potiential audience, mainly due to pseudo ideological arrogance. So please excuse me if I sit back, pop some corn and enjoy the show. Avoiding “Hollywood” movies that are either utterly banal or harboring a leftist/atheist subtext has limited my movie attendence to a near annual event.

    So don’t deny me this small pleasure.

    • October 7, 2009 7:59 pm

      “So don’t deny me this small pleasure.”

      Sorry. But we’re going to.

      A filmmaker making movies in France or Japan cannot under any circumstance be called a “Hollywood” filmmaker UNTIL they start making the bulk of their films for mainstream Hollywood studios. Saying that all filmmakers should be called “Hollywood” is like saying that all computer manufacturers should be called “Silicon Valley” or all porn producers should be called “San Fernando Valley.” It’s just not accurate and it only shows that you don’t understand the film industry.

      “The point that the most mainstream and monetarily successful film makers have not signed the petition would be much more persuasive if they weren’t also those who had the most to lose. Their core audience being composed of the very folks most likely to take public support for a fugitive child rapist amiss.”

      This is a fallacious argument and you know it. It would be like saying Polanski should go to jail even if he didn’t rape the girl but just wanted to. They didn’t sign the petition. They didn’t do anything wrong on this issue, and you can’t read their minds.

      We’re not minimizing how disgusting the Polanski defense is. Still be outraged by it. Still condemn those who promote it. We’re just PROVING that it’s a fringe prejudice within the film industry at large and particularly within the American film industry.

      By all means attack Hollywood for its leftist nonsense. Just don’t overplay your hand and attack when it’s not warranted lest the legitimate critiques fall on deaf ears.

      • October 8, 2009 7:51 pm

        Sorry. But we’re going to.


        you can’t read their minds.

        Neither can Goldstein, apparently. It you’ll check
        you”ll see a link to a Sun Times article mentioning ” . . . and Steven Spielberg are among those trying to help the director avoid extradition to the United States. . .” and

        “Spielberg is so non-supportive of Polanski that he offered Polanski the chance to direct “Schindler’s List.” Boo yah.

        Also note the cool UTUBE of a room full of people probably employed by the motion picture industry physically located someplace in South California giving a standing ovation to the naughty Polish sausage.

        • October 8, 2009 8:18 pm

          “Sorry. But we’re going to.


          What’s that supposed to mean?

  2. October 8, 2009 4:03 am

    Woody is qualified to make a movie about it. (yawn)

  3. macko permalink
    October 8, 2009 6:22 am

    Please correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t hollywood actors deliver awards to polanski. possibly as a favor to certain directors ?

    • October 8, 2009 6:35 am

      Sure they did. So what? There have been Hollywood people defending Polanski. But is it fair to say that “Hollywood” as a whole, as a majority, supports Polanski? I don’t think so anymore.

  4. Three Rivers Slim permalink
    October 8, 2009 6:24 am

    The problem is with perception, the entire film industry is considered “Hollywood” just as facial tissue of any origin is referred to as “Kleenex”. Los Angeles has dominated the film industry from the beginning and though the decline of the studio has enabled the business to spread throughout the Western World and beyond, the industry has perpetuated the fantasy of “Hollywood” as being the center of the film world; whether true or not. But whether the films are financed and distributed from LA, London or Kuala Lampur; the majority of the players still gather at Sundance, the Academy Awrds and Canne. The majority sleep in the bed of liberalism together and get share the same fleas.

  5. maggie permalink
    October 8, 2009 6:49 am

    Whoopi Goldberg has discussed this on The View (I don’t watch that show, just read about her comments) and keeps defending Polanski. She says this was not a ‘rape-rape’ whatever that means. That the girl (child) ‘consented’ and then he drugged her. Such blind denial!

  6. Michaelle Maloney permalink
    October 8, 2009 9:46 am

    Whoppi’s comment was so annoying as I heard and read about it. The words rape versus rape-rape what an educational sentence. What is rape-rape-rape then? The View? I have another name for it-The Blind.

  7. Judy permalink
    October 8, 2009 5:52 pm

    Sometimes when I hear the comments made by “celebrities” I feel like I have entered the twilight zone. What goes on in their heads except for mindless self-indulgent, self-centered and innane drivel?

  8. Joseph White permalink
    October 8, 2009 6:46 pm

    Let’s not forget the fact that Roman’s already been found guilty. He skipped out before he could serve his sentence. If anything, he’s guilty of prisonbreak and rape charges (Okay, having sex with a minor) and should serve the 30 years he deserves.

  9. ElanaSe permalink
    October 8, 2009 7:21 pm

    My problem is not with the terminology. Many indie directors are financed by the Hollywood giants, even if those movies are made by newyorkers in the UK. It’s pretty shady area WHAT to call “Hollywood”. Many people associate this word with the American film industry in general. But it’s not my point.
    My point is that many of those famous directors David mentioned, who ” don’t” support Polanski, never condemned him either. Allow me to compare it to the majority of Muslims, who won’t support terror aloud, but wouldn’t reject it .
    They are quiet! If they do go against Polanski – they’re afraid of the negative impact of their relationships with the European filmmakers, if they support – they’re risking to lose money and fans in their own country. They are sitting and waiting in the hope that the whole scandal will go away and nobody will ever ask their opinion. Those who are openly pro or against Polansky are those, who have nothing to lose in Hollywood.
    David, those people gave the “life achievement award” to the Nazi propaganda filmmaker Leni Riefestahl, yelled “free Tookie” and praised Castro…It’s not us, their customers, who have to prove (with questionable evidence) that “they don’t support a rapist” – it’s their, service givers’ job to prove they actually condemn this kind of crime.

  10. Jenn permalink
    October 14, 2009 8:30 pm

    Hollywood’s support of Polanski is deep down psychological support of its own immorality.

Comments are closed.