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In Roman Polanski case, is it Hollywood vs. Middle America?

Reactions to the extradition of the fugitive filmmaker show a sharp divide.

October 01, 2009|John Horn and Tina Daunt

In an opinion piece in London's the Independent, Weinstein Co. co-founder Harvey Weinstein, who is circulating the pro-Polanski petition, wrote: "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."

In an interview, Weinstein said that people generally misunderstand what happened to Polanski at sentencing. He's not convinced public opinion is running against the filmmaker and dismisses the categorization of Hollywood as amoral. "Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion," Weinstein said. "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."

Producer Bo Zenga ("Scary Movie," "Soul Plane"), is one of the few executives taking a different view. "I don't actually believe that people in Hollywood would put protecting their own above a 13-year-old girl who was raped," he said.

"I think these people have honestly forgotten what this is really about. Everyone needs to go back and read the grand jury testimony to remember how vicious this rape was because right now everyone thinks we're debating whether or not Polanski got a raw deal. It irritates me that people around the world think that all of Hollywood is saying that the rapist is the victim. Because I don't feel that way, and neither do most of the people I talk with."

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john.horn@latimes.com

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