Over 100 Hollywood celebrities, including Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese, have signed an online petition demanding the release of Oscar-winning director Roman Polanksi. Polanski was arrested In Switzerland on a 1978 warrant for sexually assaulting 13-year-old Samantha Geimer.
Hollywood notables such as David Lynch and Pedro Almodovar have also signed the petition asking for the release of Roman Polanski, known for such films as The Pianist and Rosemary’s Baby. Polanski was arrested at the Zurich airportÂ on his way to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival. Polanski has stated he will fight his arrest and extradition to the U.S. on the 30-year-old warrant.
“If only in the name of this friendship between our two countries, we demand the immediate release of Roman Polanski,” the petition states. “Film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this,” the petition says. “The arrest of Roman Polanski in a neutral country, where he assumed he could travel without hindrance, undermines this tradition.”
While we can understand why Woody Allen would sign such a petition, considering he had no qualms about marrying his own adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, we’re a little shocked how many Hollywood celebs are defending a man who drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl and then ran from the country rather than face punishment for his crimes.
It doesn’t matter how famous you are or how long ago the crime was or even that the victim, Samantha Geimer, has said she doesn’t care anymore. Letting Polanski slide would basically just be telling any would-be child molestor/rapist that if you commit a heinous crime and manage to escape punishment long enough, we’ll just let you get away with it. No matter how you slice it, that’s just wrong.
>> Next Up: Swiss Say Hell No to Releasing Roman Polanski on Bail
Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski will fight extradition to the U.S. on a 1978 arrest warrant for statutory rape of then 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. Polanski was arrested this weekend after traveling to Switzerland to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival.
Roman Polanski was arrested on Saturday at the Zurich airport on a warrant stemming from his alleged 1977 rape and sexual assault of Samantha Geimer. Polanski pleaded guilty to “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor” at the time, but later fled to France. France has a limited extradition treaty with the United States. Switzerland, on the other hand, was all too happy to slap the cuffs on Polanski as soon as he stepped foot in the country.
Polanski’s French lawyer, Herve Temime, released a statement saying the acclaimed director will “immediately petition for his freedom.” Polanski is not the only one who desperately wants his freedom. A coalition of actors, filmmakers and other industry types have put together a petition asking authorities to release Polanski. “We’re calling on every film-maker we can to help fix this terrible situation,” said movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Even Polanski’s alleged victim, Samantha Geimer, has asked for charges against him to be dropped. “I don’t carry any feelings of anger towards Polanski,” she told People magazine in 1997. “He did something really gross to me, but it was the media that ruined my life.”
Polanski filed a request in December to the California courts to have the charges dismissed, but a judge ruled the director must come to the U.S. to have his request considered.
Director Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland this weekend on aÂ 30 year oldÂ arrest warrant for the rape of then 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. Polanski had traveled to Switzerland to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival.
Polanski was accused in 1977 of drugging and then sexually molesting Samantha Geimer after luring her into his grasp to take photos of her. The legendary director of such films as Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown, Roman Polanski pleaded guilty to “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor” for the decades-old crime, though he insisted the sex was consensual, but then fled the U.S. to France to avoid punishment. Polanski has since avoided traveling to countries where he might face extradition to the U.S., while continuing to direct films such as The Ninth Gate and The Pianist.
On Sept 26, Polanski was arrested at the Zurich airport on his way to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival. The Swiss Justice Ministry has reportedly confirmed Polanski will be forced to return to the U.S.
Polanski’s victim, Samantha Geimer sued the Oscar-winning director in civil court and received an undisclosed settlement amount. She has asked for the criminal case against Polanski to be dismissed.