Entertainment

When the Academy Awards Celebrated a Sexual Predator

Hollywood tries to take the moral high ground these days, yet it continues to support controversial filmmaker Roman Polanski

There is perhaps no person whose story better exemplifies the hypocrisy and empty morals of much of Hollywood than director Roman Polanski.

Before Harvey Weinstein and others ever faced an onslaught of sexual misconduct accusations — and well before the #MeToo movement — there was Polanski.

The director of such classics as “Chinatown” and “Rosemary’s Baby” pled guilty to “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor” after having been arrested in 1977 for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl.

After a complicated trial, Polanski was sentenced to prison time — something he was unwilling to accept for his crime.

So he fled to Paris before authorities could capture him. Today he is 84 years old and remains a fugitive.

Despite his fugitive status and numerous other allegations of pedophilia, Polanski has enjoyed quite a successful career even since his arrest. He’s worked with A-list actors Johnny Depp and Ewan McGregor, and he even won the Best Director Academy Award for “The Pianist,” a 2002 drama starring Adrien Brody.

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That’s right. A man who was a fugitive from the law and a convicted sexual predator was awarded an Academy Award by an industry stuffed with so many supposed liberals.

Even Meryl Streep, who now rails against President Donald Trump as well as her ex-producer, Harvey Weinstein, stood and clapped when actor Harrison Ford announced in 2003 with a grin that Polanski had won the Academy Award.

Polanski could not attend the event, of course — because he would have been immediately arrested upon entering the United States.

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But win he did. An American fugitive and convicted sexual predator had the stamp of approval from supposedly liberal Hollywood. He would go on to work with plenty of top-notch actors, many of whom now claim to be for women’s rights — though they say they do not regret working with the likes of Polanski.

To paint an even darker picture of when Polanski won the Academy Award, it was the same year Michael Moore won Best Documentary — and tried to take the moral high ground by attacking President George W. Bush for the war in Iraq. To top that, disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein had a hand in four of the five films nominated that year for Best Picture.

Then there was the awkward and unwanted kiss “Pianist” star Adrien Brody gave to presenter Halle Berry. It was a moment that would set #MeToo activists on fire today.

Weinstein eventually got the boot from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) because of his recent sexual misconduct allegations. That’s right — the same group that allowed Polanski to get a golden statue chose to take a moral stand on Weinstein. Yippee for them.

The Polanski victory — along with his continued success in Hollywood — has always been controversial outside the bubble of Hollywood, but it looks especially dark now that so many are trying to take a stance against sexual predators. For example, how can someone like Streep applaud Polanski for his Oscar win — but attack President Trump for allegations of sexual misconduct?

The Polanski case shows the emptiness of the politics from oh-so-many in Hollywood. These folks believe in causes when it is convenient for them — and they are willing to overlook a lot when it comes to one of their own.

And don’t worry — Polanski continues to work and avoid arrest. He had a film released just last year and still attracts top talent to his films, including Jodie Foster and Pierce Brosnan.

PopZette editor Zachary Leeman can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter

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