In 2009, the Independent in Britain published an impassioned op-ed in defense of film director, producer, writer and actor Roman Polanski, who the United States was trying to extradite on decades-old child-rape charges.
“Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time,” the op-ed said, referring to Polanski’s guilty plea to drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl in 1972 and his subsequent 42-day prison sentence on an apparent plea deal.
“It is a shocking way to treat such a man,” the op-ed said.
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The op-ed’s author? Harvey Weinstein.
Read it here: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/harvey-weinstein-polanski-has-served-his-time-and-must-be-freed-1794699.html
Today, Weinstein is under attack from all sides after a New York Times report linked him to alleged sexual harassments and subsequent payoffs dating back decades. More women have come forth with allegations since the report was published, and Weinstein has been fired from the production company he co-founded.
Hollywood giants such as Meryl Streep, Judi Dench and Kate Winslet have spoken out against him.
It will be interesting to see whether Hollywood bigwigs begin to change their tune on Polanski, as well. More than 100 of them signed an online petition eight years ago demanding the U.S. stop trying to extradite him. That petition no longer can be found.
Recently, two more women have come out with allegations against the 84-year-old Polanski, alleging he raped them when they were teenagers. So much for the thinking that what happened in 1972 was a one-time mistake.
How could people continue to defend him while reviling people like Weinstein and Bill Cosby?
At the bottom of Weinstein’s 2009 op-ed is one reader comment, posted a few days ago. It says, simply, “This didn’t age well.”
That’s an understatement. The same could be said of that petition about Polanski.