Note well: No matter what the LA Times would have you believe, he’s not an “accused” child-rapist. He pled guilty. The conviction’s on the books. All that’s left to settle is the sentence.

But Hollywood knows a good cause when it sees it.

The surprise detention of Roman Polanski has been met with indignation in Hollywood and sparked a flurry of media speculation over the real reason behind Saturday night’s arrest in Zurich.

Film mogul Harvey Weinstein has got behind a campaign by French film-makers calling on US authorities not to extradite the Oscar-winning Polish director in connection with a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor dating back more than three decades…

“We’re calling on every film-maker we can to help fix this terrible situation,” Weinstein said, reviving a theme he adopted earlier in the year after he bought international distribution rights at Sundance to the HBO documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired.

The film uncovered flaws in the legal case against the director, prompting Weinstein to allude to a possible campaign to get the charges against Polanski dropped. At a hearing this year a Los Angeles superior court judge agreed there was “substantial misconduct” in the original hearing.

If there was substantial misconduct, why not come back to LA and litigate the matter at an appellate level? Answer: Because Polanski and his cretinous supporters don’t care if he’s guilty or not. They want him to walk free, in the name of “art,” without another word spoken on the subject. More at the Daily Mail:

French culture minister Frederic Mitterand said he was ‘deeply shocked’ by the sudden arrest, and had already discussed the matter with President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In a statement, Mr Mitterand, a nephew of former President Francois Mitterand, said he learned of the arrest ‘with astonishment’ and that he regretted ‘in the strongest way that a new ordeal has been inflicted on someone who has already gone through so much’.

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the arrest was a ‘bit sinister’

The Zurich Film Festival jury accused Switzerland of ‘philistine collusion’.

‘The case is three decades old and is all but dead but for minor technicalities. We stand by and wait for his release and his next masterwork,’ said jury president Debra Winger.

Other members of the film industry, including Italian actress Monica Bellucci, French actress Fanny Ardant, president of the Cannes film festival Gilles Jacob and Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai issued a petition demanding his immediate release.

Again: Convicted child-rapist and fugitive from justice. Magically transformed, by Hollywood libertinism and douchebaggery, into an honest-to-goodness victim who’s being persecuted by the evil empire for, um, forcibly sodomizing a 13-year-old and then skipping bail. I can’t do any better than this righteous Salon piece. Go ye and read, right now.

Update: Needless to say, this reminds me of the left’s umbrage at conservatives daring to bring up Chappaquiddick after Teddy died. Yeah, he left a woman to drown and then made jokes about it afterwards; he was for universal health care, though, wasn’t he? Same with Polanski: Dare we deny the man who made “Chinatown” an occasional drugging and raping of a child? Sure, a kid gets traumatized for life, but on the other side of the scale: “Rosemary’s Baby.” It’d be sweet if the left could come up with some sort of mathematical formula by which we could tell whether an artist or liberal politician has exceeded his quotient of moral indulgence. I’m assuming “Chinatown” wasn’t so awesome that Polanski would be excused for shooting a kid in the head at point-blank range, so evidently the film’s “worth” less than that but more than a child-rape. Let’s figure out just how much of a liberal hero you have to be to get away with certain crimes.