Yesterday, I expressed hope that Hollywood would continue its desperate attempt to explain how a crime isn’t a crime when the person committing it is Someone Like Them, so that they will finally lose their collective credibility as compassionate progressives on the side of goodness. It looks like I might get my wish:
“The split between what the rest of the world thinks about Polanski and what Hollywood thinks about Polanski is quite remarkable,” said film historian David Thomson. “It proves what an old-fashioned and provincial club Hollywood is. People look after their own.”
For example, Harvey Weinstein, one of the Hollywood moguls who thinks Roman Polanski should be released, calls drugging and sodomizing a 13-year old a “so-called crime”:
Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time. A deal was made with the judge, and the deal is not being honored. . . . This is the government of the United States not giving its word and recanting on a deal, and it is the government acting irresponsibly and criminally.
If you’re wondering what “deal” he’s referring to, he’s getting all this from an HBO movie, the credibility of which has been called into question by Marcia Clark’s claims that David Wells told her he lied in the documentary when he said he convinced Judge Rittenbrand to impose on Polanski a sentence with jail time back during the plea bargain. Since the documentary came out, not before, Polanski’s people have claimed it was this gross miscarriage of justice that prompted him to flee “scary America.” First, judges are never bound to accept the terms of any plea bargain, so even if this conversation had happened, it would have been inappropriate, but not have deprived Polanski of anything he had a right to. Secondly, there is now some question whether it even happened.
In response to criticisms of Hollywood’s moral compass, Saint Weinstein adds:
Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion. We were the people who did the fundraising telethon for the victims of 9/11. We were there for the victims of Katrina and any world catastrophe.
And they have plenty of compassion for a man who drugged and sodomized a little girl. They just don’t have any compassion for the girl because she was not One Of Us. This is not reminiscent of Greenpeace or the Sierra Club, the sort of organizations Hollywood wants us to think it’s aligned with. No, this reminds me of Jim Bakker‘s followers defending him against the rape allegations made by Jessica Hahn. It also reminds me of how the good ol’ boys in a 1950s country club might react when one of their fine upstanding members gets accused of harming some woman or some person of color. How dare the world question the integrity of someone deemed special over someone deemed a nobody.
And sure, if a tragedy involves thousands of people and huge publicity, Hollywood’s all over it like a paparazzi on a celebrity’s newborn babe. That’s not compassion; it’s opportunism. Consider too that Hollywood’s response generally consists of yapping on TV (yeah, that’s really hard work, thanks a bunch) and fund raisers, which are always an excellent opportunity to pay inordinately huge “consulting fees” to yourself and your friends.
Conservative columnist Rod Dreher answers Weinstein’s compassion comment by alleging that Weinstein himself:
Weinstein is legendary in film circles for the foul-mouthed abuse he customarily heaped on his staff when he ran Miramax. You should talk to former Miramax employees, as I have, about their ex-employer’s compassion.
Note that Dreher then quotes a “liberal columnist”, among others. Liberals and conservatives have finally found something they can agree on? That rape is wrong and VIPs shouldn’t get special treatment when they commit crimes? Maybe there’s hope yet.
Oh, and if you’re concerned about Weinstein’s promise to try to influence Schwarzenegger on Polanski’s behalf, don’t be. Schwarzenegger has already said Polanski must not have any special treatment. Compassionate? Maybe. Or maybe it’s that if he intervenes, those allegations that he’s sexually assaulted a lot of “nobodies” in his time might resurface with a vengeance:
The allegations against Schwarzenegger suggested a pattern of behavior that’s at least disconcerting, if not criminal. None of the women pressed charges or sued Schwarzenegger for the alleged acts, many because they were employed in Hollywood and feared retribution, according to the Times. The reports were sought out by the Times because rumors of Schwarzenegger’s behavior have swirled for years in Hollywood, and the paper thought it important to see if they were true. The allegations were independently verified, and the details were as disturbing as they were obscene.