Speed Reads

sexual misconduct

Harvey Weinstein publicly defended Roman Polanski in a now-removed 2009 op-ed

In 1978, director Roman Polanski, then 43, accepted a deal to plead guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl who accused him of drugging and raping her in Los Angeles, but then fled to France when he learned that the judge was leaning toward rejecting the plea deal and order him to return to jail. In 2009, as Polanski was detained in Switzerland and fighting extradition to the U.S., where he remains a fugitive, producer Harvey Weinstein wrote an op-ed in Britain's The Independent urging "every U.S. filmmaker to lobby against any move to bring Polanski back to the U.S., where he could face life in jail."

"Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time," Weinstein wrote. (Polanski spent 42 days in a California state prison.) "I think the reason we can all be on Polanski's side over this is not to do with what happened in 1977. It's to do with the fact that the punishment for what happened so many years ago had already been decided." Weinstein name-dropped some other Hollywood notables, including Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese, who would probably rather be left out of this now that Weinstein has been accused of rape and serial harassment by numerous women. Luckily for them, The Independent has pulled the op-ed from the web.

Since Samantha Gailey pressed charges in 1977, four more women have publicly accused Polanski of sexually assaulting them when they were young girls — one came forward in 2010 and three more this year, most recently Marianne Barnard, who said Polanski molested her when she was 10 and she couldn't remain silent anymore now that "all these women are bravely coming forward" with accusations against Weinstein and others.