- 1 Background
- 2 Relationship to #Pizzagate
- 3 Additional Resources
Rajmund Roman Thierry Polański (born 18 August 1933), known professionally as Roman Polanski, is a French-Polish film director, producer, writer, and actor. Having made films in Poland, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States, he is considered one of the few "truly international filmmakers". Born in Paris to Polish parents, he moved with his family back to Poland (Second Polish Republic) in 1937, shortly before the outbreak of World War II. He survived the Holocaust although his father was Jewish and mother of Jewish descent, was educated in Poland (People's Republic of Poland), and became a director of both art house and commercial films.
Polanski's first feature-length film, Knife in the Water (1962), made in Poland, was nominated for a United States Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. He has since received five more Oscar nominations, along with two BAFTAs, four Césars, a Golden Globe Award and the Palme d'Or of the Cannes Film Festival in France. In the United Kingdom he directed three films, beginning with Repulsion (1965). In 1968 he moved to the United States and cemented his status by directing the horror film Rosemary's Baby (1968), for which Ruth Gordon won an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress.
In 1969, Polanski's pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by members of the Manson Family while staying at Polanski's Benedict Canyon, California home. Following Tate's death, Polanski returned to Europe and spent much of his time in Paris and Gstaad, but did not direct another film until Macbeth (1971) in England. The following year he went to Italy to make What? (1973) and subsequently spent the next five years living near Rome. However, he travelled to Hollywood to direct Chinatown (1974). The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, and was a critical and box-office success. Polanski's next film, The Tenant (1976), was shot in France, and completed the "Apartment Trilogy", following Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby.
In 1977, after a photo shoot in Los Angeles, Polanski was arrested for the rape of 13-year-old Samantha Geimer and pleaded guilty to the charge of statutory rape. He was released from prison after serving 42 days and was told that the prosecutors had agreed to ask for him to be put on probation. When he learned that the judge planned to reject the plea bargain, he fled to Paris before sentencing. He publicly offered his apology to Geimer, telling her that he regretted the episode. In September 2009, he was arrested by Swiss police and later released after Swiss authorities denied a U.S. request for his extradition. In October 2015, after another request for extradition, a judge in Poland refused the request. Geimer herself supported the Polish decision, adding, "He said he did it, he pled guilty, he went to jail. I don't know what people want from him."
Polanski continued to make films, including The Pianist (2002), a World War II true story drama about Jewish-Polish musician Władysław Szpilman. The film won three Academy Awards including Best Director, along with numerous international awards. He also directed other films, including Oliver Twist (2005), a story which parallels his own life as a "young boy attempting to triumph over adversity". In 2009 he received a lifetime-achievement award from the Zurich Film Festival, and in 2011 won Best Director at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival for Carnage. He was awarded Best Director for The Ghost Writer (2010) at the 23rd European Film Awards that year but was unable to receive it in person due to his retention by the Swiss authorities.
From Documentary films
In 2008, the documentary film by Marina Zenovich, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, was released in Europe and the United States where it won numerous awards. The film focuses on the judge in the case and the possible reasons why he changed his mind. It includes interviews with people involved in the case, including the victim, Geimer, and the prosecutor, Roger Gunson. Geimer said that the judge "didn't care what happened" to her or Polanski, but "was orchestrating some little show," while Gunson added, "I'm not surprised that Polanski left under those circumstances, ... it was going to be a real circus."
Former DA David Wells, whose statements were the most damning against Polanski, and who said he advised the judge to imprison Polanski, admitted that he lied about those statements, and said that to the press to "play up" his own role.
In December 2009, a California appellate court discussed the film's allegations as it denied Polanski's request to have the case dismissed. While saying they were "deeply concerned" the court, and were "in many cases supported by considerable evidence," it also found that "(e)ven in light of our fundamental concern about the misconduct ... flight was not Polanski’s only option. It was not even his best option." It said dismissal of the case, which would erase Polanski's guilty plea, wouldn't be an "appropriate result," and that he still had other legal options.
In September 2011, the documentary film Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir had its world premiere in Zürich, Switzerland. During an interview in the film, he offers his apology to Geimer: "She is a double victim: My victim, and a victim of the press." On this occasion, he collected the lifetime achievement award he was to have received at the time of his arrest two years earlier.
In 2004, Polanski sued Vanity Fair magazine in London for libel. A 2002 article in the magazine claimed that Polanski promised he would "make another Sharon Tate out of you" in an attempt to seduce a Scandinavian model while he was travelling to Tate's funeral. He received supporting testimony from Mia Farrow, and Vanity Fair "was unable to prove that the incident occurred." Polanski was awarded £50,000 in damages plus some of his legal costs.
Separate Wikipedia Article: Roman Polanski sexual abuse case
In March 1977, film director Roman Polanski was arrested and charged in Los Angeles with five offenses against Samantha Gailey, a 13-year-old girl – rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor. At his arraignment Polanski pleaded not guilty to all charges, but later accepted a plea bargain whose terms included dismissal of the five initial charges in exchange for a guilty plea to the lesser charge of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse.
Polanski underwent a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation, and a report was submitted to the court recommending probation. However, upon learning that he was likely to face imprisonment and deportation, Polanski fled to France in February 1978, hours before he was to be formally sentenced. Since then Polanski has mostly lived in France and has avoided visiting countries likely to extradite him to the United States.
Additional Relevant Facts
Clarity on the circumstances of the rape
From the Fox News article, Hollywood Left Bands Together to Fight Polanski Arrest, published on September 29th, 2009:
Here's exactly what Whoopi is talking about: In March 1977, the 44-year-old Polanski fed a 13-year-old girl champagne and a sedative, forced himself on her and anally raped her, according to the girl's grand jury testimony. He was convicted of a lesser charge — statutory rape — because he agreed to plead guilty.
Suspicious Activity on Wikileaks.org?
In his article posted on Wikileaks itself, WikiLeaks releases more than half a million US diplomatic cables from 1978, Julian Assange notes having documents on the 1978 Roman Polanski extradition stating:
The Hollywood film director and producer Roman Polanski fled to France in 1978 after pleading guilty to sex charges. PlusD contains 4 new documents with the keyword "Polanski" (see here).
Upon review, there seem to be only three that relate specifically to Roman Polanski.
When two of the three documents are viewed, they lack content or source or raw source, only possessing metadata (clicking on the raw source link gives a 404 error). Even the other document seems sparse on text though the raw source is available.
- REQUEST FOR EXTRADITION OF ROMAN POLANSKI FROM ENGLAND TO CALIFORNIA (missing content, source and raw source)  [Archived Link for Source]
- EXTRADITION OF ROMAN RAYMOND POLANSKI (missing content, source and raw source) [[Archived Link for Source]
- WHEREABOUTS OF ROMAN RAYMOND POLANSKI TO: C.L. WILLIS FUGITIVE WARRANT DETAIL LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF OFFICE (missing content and source - has raw source)  [Archived Link for Source]
New York Post, Roman Polanski ready to settle decades-old rape case, by Jamie Schram, published on February 16th, 2017.
Relationship to #Pizzagate
Connection to Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro is known to have been close friends with Polanski. In fact, De Niro would be the first person Polanski would meet immediately after raping 13 year old Samantha Gailey.
From the New York Post article, Inside story of the night that Polanski raped a child, published on October 29, 2009:
Samantha [Gailey] had met Polanski through her mother, Susan, a television actress. The director said he had an assignment to photograph young girls for a Paris fashion magazine, Vogue Hommes, and had heard about Samantha from a mutual friend. Polanski went to her home on the afternoon of Feb. 20 and took some pictures in the hills nearby. He picked her up again on March 10, stopped at Jacqueline Bisset’s house and, as the light was fading, went to Nicholson’s compound on Mulholland Drive. Polanski dropped Samantha off at her home a few hours later and went about his business. He met with Robert De Niro that evening to discuss making a movie based on a William Goldman novel, “Magic.” The next night, a team of seven police investigators and prosecutors pulled up to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
Robert De Niro and Roman Polanski have maintained their friendship all these years.
Connection to Harvey Weinstein
Organizing Public Appearance for Polanski
Harvey Weinstein setup a rare public appearance for Polanski.
From the Wrap article, Roman Polanski Makes Rare Public Appearance at Harvey Weinstein’s Screening of ‘Big Eyes’ in Gstaad (Exclusive), by Matt Donnelly, published on December 29th, 2014:
The Monday evening screening was held at the luxurious new Alpina Hotel, drawing RSVPs from deep-pocketed art collectors. Polanski’s attendance marks a rare outing for the director, who recently lost a bid to dismiss sexual assault charges from 1977 that would allow his reentry to the United States. Amy Adams on the Lesson of ‘Big Eyes': You Don’t Have to Be Loud to be Strong At the time, Polanski was charged with raping 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. He accepted a plea bargain and was serving time for psychiatric evaluation. Upon learning a judge intended to hand down additional jail time, he fled the country before final sentencing, settling in France. “Big Eyes,” which features a buzzworthy performance from Amy Adams as painter Margaret Keane, also attracted the influential art set. European collector families like the Manoukians, the Amons, Peter Soros and Olivier Berggruen were represented, as well as Chopard’s Caroline Scheufele. The last-minute shindig comes on the heels of the film’s Italian premiere on the island of Capri.
It should be noted that the island of Capri was known in Roman times as the site of Emperor Tiberius' most depraved acts of pedophilia, including sex acts with toddlers.
Vocal support for dropping charges against Polanski
In September 2009, Weinstein publicly voiced opposition to efforts to extradite Roman Polanski from Switzerland to the U.S. regarding 1977 charges of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old, to which Polanski had pleaded guilty before fleeing the country. Weinstein, whose company had distributed a film about the Polanski case, questioned whether Polanski committed any crime, prompting Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley to insist that Polanski's guilty plea indicated that his action was a crime, and that several other serious charges were pending.
In his written plea referenced, published in the Independent, Weinstein has one particularly notable line regarding Polanski's conviction for raping a 13-year-old Samantha Gailey:
Whatever you think about the so-called crime...
Connection to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton
From the Fox News article, Hollywood Left Bands Together to Fight Polanski Arrest, published on September 29th, 2009:
While prosecutors in the U.S. continue to press their case to bring Polanski back to California, some filmmakers abroad are rallying to his cause. Weinstein's friend Thierry Fremaux, the director of the Cannes Film Festival, reached out to French authorities after Polanski's arrest, and the country's foreign minister quickly dispatched a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling for filmmaker's freedom. The State Department would not confirm the receipt of the letter, or of one from the foreign minister of Poland, where Polanski grew up, but both countries are known to be angling for the release of the director, who is a dual French-Polish citizen.
The extradition would fail, perhaps intentionally, under Secretary of State Clinton's watch.
From Pride article, Op-ed: When Hollywood Excuses Famous Men Who Rape..., by Victoria A. Brownworth, published on January 17th, 2014:
In 2009 he was put under house arrest in Switzerland, but attempts by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to have him extradited to the U.S. were unsuccessful and in 2010 the Swiss released him from house arrest. He remains on an Intepol list, however.