There is a great deal of debate now swirling around the arrest of Roman Polanski for a crime that has been on the books since 1978. In case you’re unfamiliar, Polanski was accused and found guilty of drugging then raping a 13 year old girl. Before he was sentenced, he left the country to avoid having to serve any sentence imposed by the court. Fearing that his freedom would be taken from him, he has avoided the United States for the last 31 years.
There are two schools of thought about this case. Many people in Hollywood are petitioning to have Polanski freed, while others are calling for his head. Those who want the charges dropped and Polanski freed believe they are doing the right thing, vacating a charge that even the victim wants dropped. The thing is, Polanski ran to avoid the justice system. He was convicted of a crime and he has yet to serve out the sentence imposed. His sweetheart deal nonwithstanding, he is a fugitive from justice.
The directors, actors, and industry bigwigs who have signed the petition are really doing so not because they believe no crime was committed… not because they are proponents of pedophilia… not because they believe this man’s talent outweighs his sins. They are doing it simply because he was arrested while trying to attend a fete honoring his work. This means that artists would no longer be able to have their egos stroked by their peers without having to ensure they have not committed any crimes in the jurisdiction covered by the award ceremony otherwise they COULD be arrested for crimes they have committed (or alleged to have committed).
A lot of people want to turn this into an OLD TESTAMENT vengeance thing. The truth is a lot less complicated. A man drugged and raped a 13 year old girl, was found guilty by the justice system, then realizing that he was facing a 50 year prison sentence, he ran away. That is a crime. Even if the crime he committed was jaywalking, it would still be a crime.
You can’t run from justice. Even if your films are critically acclaimed.