Artists rally for Polanski
SOME OF the world’s top filmmakers and artists have defended director Roman Polanski following his arrest for raping a thirteen year old girl more than 30 years ago.
Woody Allen, Wim Wenders and British director Stephen Frears are among more than 130 Hollywood names to have signed a petition demanding his release and pledging to fight his extradition to the US.
Mr Polanski was on his way to the Zurich Film Festival to collect a lifetime achievement award when he was arrested by Swiss police on Saturday. The 76-year-old Holocaust survivor has not returned to the US since pleading guilty to drugging and raping Samantha Geimer in 1977. He now lives in France and holds French citizenship.
Writing in the Independent, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein called on American filmmakers to lobby against the extradition. He wrote: “Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time. A deal was made with the judge, and the deal is not being honoured.” French philosopher Bernard-Henry Lévy said Switzerland had more serious criminal matters to deal with than “a youthful error”.
Public opinion in France has been more hostile towards the director, however, and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk criticised his Foreign Minister, Radek Sikorski, for supporting the anti-extradition calls.
Ms Geimer previously asked for the charges to be dropped and after suing Mr Polanski was awarded an undisclosed settlement.