Guy Adams: Why does Hollywood adore this sex offender?

LA Notebook

Share
Related Topics

Say what you like about Roman Polanski, the old boy's been a good servant to Los Angeles, propping up the film industry and the legal profession, which provide the city with its two main sources of income. So hats off to him.

While we're at it, hats off to Polanski's lawyers. This week, they gave the local economy a valuable boost by bringing the world's media to LA Superior Court for the resumption of their battle to have his 1977 rape conviction quashed.

Polanski's appeal was delayed on Tuesday on account of legal arguments. When it's eventually heard, he will claim, in layman's terms, to have been the victim of a mistrial. The bones of the case are as follows: Polanski's victim, a 13-year-old girl, accused him of plying her with champagne and Quaaludes. He admits to having had intercourse with her. But he'll claim that none of this matters – because the judge in his 1977 trial allegedly had improper contact with a prosecutor during sentencing.

If a court buys this argument, charges against the 75-year-old director could be dropped, allowing him to leave France, where he illegally absconded to escape imprisonment almost 30 years ago, and return to Hollywood.

And then, he'll be welcomed with open arms. For despite his status as a self-confessed child sex offender, who has never apologised for his actions (and often seems bemused by all the fuss), Polanski's stock remains remarkably high in showbusiness circles. He continues to receive standing ovations on Oscar night and at industry events. Celebrity friends sing his praises. Film studios throw money at his projects.

People like Mia Farrow (a woman who has devoted recent years to helping victims of abuse in places like Darfur) gave sympathetic interviews to the recent HBO documentary that attempted to exonerate him.

We all make mistakes, of course, and Mr Polanski's crime was committed an awfully long time ago. But, whatever the outcome of the imminent appeal, the fact of his enduring popularity will shine an uncomfortable light on Hollywood's moral compass.

Dawn patrol

Hollywood journalism isn't all late-nights and red carpets. Today's ceremony announcing the 2009 Oscar nominations has been scheduled for 5.30am, LA time, to ensure maximum global coverage. The press pack has been instructed to arrive at the Samuel Goldwyn theatre no later than 4am. I hope they provide breakfast.

Tub thumping

Inauguration fever wasn't limited to Washington. It even hit my local supermarket, where they were selling a commemorative flavour of Ben & Jerry's ice-cream this week. Its name: "Yes, Pecan".

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Andy Coulson  

Andy Coulson: With former News of the World editor cleared of perjury charges, what will he do next?

James Cusick James Cusick
Jack Warner  

Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Tom Peck
Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)