Are liberals finally willing to reject convicted rapist Roman Polanski?

Last week we learned that infamous criminal Roman Polanski had been selected for the “honor” of heading the jury panel for the Ceasers. This selection was made despite the fact that Polanski was previously convicted of drugging, raping and sodomizing a thirteen year old child and has been on the run from the law for decades. I’d long since given up hope that liberals and the entertainment community in general would ever come to grips with this horror show, but this is one case where I’m quite pleased to be proven wrong. There was an uprising against the selection among women in Europe and now Polanski will not be taking that role at the awards. (NY Times)

After protests from French feminist groups, the director Roman Polanski will not preside next month over the César awards ceremony, the French equivalent of the Academy Awards, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Mr. Polanski, 83, fled the United States for Europe in 1978 while awaiting sentencing for a conviction of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, and the announcement that he would preside over the awards ceremony had prompted outrage, including from a high-ranking French official.

“In order not to disturb the César ceremony, which should be centered on cinema and not on whom it chose to preside over the ceremony, Roman Polanski has decided not to accept the invitation,” Hervé Temime, a lawyer for Mr. Polanski in Paris, said in a statement.

To be clear, nobody in the French version of Hollywood seems to have gotten the hint, nor did the rapist himself. The people in charge of the Cesars didn’t rescind the invitation and Polanski himself said the uproar was based on “false information” and the whole affair had “saddened” him. If it were left just to them I’m sure the child molester would still be taking his place at the head of the judges panel.

Instead, the pushback came from the grassroots and it wasn’t some bunch of angry American conservatives. The Times points to coverage of feminist groups expressing their outrage, a popular #BoycottCesars hashtag and a petition on calling for Polanski’s ouster which quickly drew more than 60,000 signatures. Could this be the beginning of something new?

Consider for a moment that the women’s march was taking place around the world at the same time as this debacle was playing out. Equality, justice and protection for the defenseless seemed to be the themes of the day. How can people participating in such a movement close their eyes to a monster who would prey on a thirteen year old girl in that fashion. (In their usual style, the New York Times chooses to describe it as Polanski having been accused of “having sex with” the child, as if it were possible to have a consensual relationship of that sort. They can’t seem to bring themselves to print the word “rape.”)

I’m not expecting Hollywood executives in charge of the Oscars of their big ticket stars to come out and condemn this cretin. That would probably be too much to bear. But if there are actual activists on the ground who have finally taken notice of Polanski’s case and are willing to denounce him loudly enough, perhaps there’s some hope that the rest will eventually follow suit. Sadly, given that he’s in his 80s, Polanski will likely die a free man having lived a wealthy and glamorous life before he can ever be brought to justice in the United States.