Convicted child rapist Roman Polanski appointed Cesar Awards president

Convicted child rapist Roman PolanskiFrance’s National Film Academy — Académie des César — tweeted Wednesday that they were “proud to present” convicted child rapist Roman Polanski as the president of their 42nd awards ceremony. The Césars are considered the French equivalent of the Oscars.

This has understandably sparked outrage in the United States, where Polanski pled guilty in 1977 to raping and sodomizing a 13-year-old girl after drugging her. Following his conviction, Polanski fled to France, where he has lived in exile and thrived as a director for almost 40 years, except for a short time in 2009, when he was arrested in Switzerland and detained for extradition to the United States.

He was later released on bail and in 2010, freed when the Swiss denied the request for extradition. Also in 2010, another of Polanski’s victims went public. British actress Charlotte Lewis told the media: “He just said very coldly, ‘If you’re not a big enough girl to have sex with me, you’re not big enough to do the screen test. I must sleep with every actress that I work with, that’s how I get to know them, how I mold them.'” This happened four years after he fled the U.S. as a convicted child rapist.

Polanski, now 83, was born to Polish parents in France and is a citizen of the country, which has no extradition treaty. He’s scheduled to deliver the opening and closing speeches during the Césars Feb. 24 ceremony in Paris.

Do you think Roman Polanski should be honored by the French Academy? Tell us your thoughts below in the comments. ~Alexandra Heilbron

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Comments & Discussion

  1. BuenosDias • January 19, 2017 @ 9:20 AM

    If I could be anything in the world I’d want to be a rich and famous white man. You can get away with anything!

  2. Mack • January 19, 2017 @ 11:11 AM

    disgusting. People should be ashamed to even watch his movies… pig.

  3. Ernie Williams • January 19, 2017 @ 11:35 AM

    This is disgusting, time is no excuse for not serving your punishment or being convicted and tried.
    I would consider one more chance to let him back in the US – only in a pine box with a signed death certificate for burial.

  4. Barb A • January 19, 2017 @ 11:43 AM

    I can’t get over the shock. This will not bode well for France, or the film industry.

  5. CDubya • January 19, 2017 @ 12:48 PM

    Alledgedly is one thing, but convicted means he did it! Why keep honouring him? There’s plenty other filmakers out there to use for awards. Stop honouring him with accolades and junk. Touch my baby girl and I will make sure no matter where you are in the world, you are mine!

  6. DM • January 19, 2017 @ 12:48 PM

    Get the facts people. The alleged victim came forward and denied all allegations of rape. Tribute, to lead this article with his rape charge as opposed to focusing on the accolade received is despicable. Are you movie news or a frickin’ gossip column? Kudos to Polanski – one of our best film directors this century.

  7. rollanda mailloux • January 19, 2017 @ 1:20 PM

    Welcome to Hollywood in most of the world your famous you can do anything.
    This is gross and people should not watch his movie or support him in any way. Makes me sad that my home country is doing this and glad I don’t live there right now.

  8. Sandra • January 19, 2017 @ 1:21 PM

    DM are you kidding!?! She was 13 years old!!!!!
    Give me a break, Do you have children? how would you feel had it been your 13 year old CHILD! No excuse for any adult especially in that position of power to have sexual relations with a child! And I’m not buying the “it was the 70’s” excuse either.

  9. Grindal • January 19, 2017 @ 1:26 PM

    DM, get your facts straight. None of his “alleged victims” have denied he raped them. The 13-year-old, Samantha Gailey, said, “It was not consensual sex by any means… It was very scary and, looking back, very creepy.” However, because her name has been made public and she carries the stigma of being raped by this pervert with her every day, she said in 2010 he should be “allowed to put this behind him. He said he did it, he pled guilty.”

    She has released a book called The Girl: A Life in The Shadow of Roman Polanski (obviously to set the record straight and explain it to people who don’t know the first thing about what he did to her, like you, DM). Read it and get yourself educated.

  10. kotb • January 19, 2017 @ 1:57 PM

    The victim, Samantha Gailey, did not deny allegations of rape. However, she did attempt to drop all charges in recent years because she had suffered for decades from the story being public.

    A year later from the time he fled america to avoid jail time, he gave a controversial interview about the rape. He justified his actions by stating he hadn’t murdered anyone and that all men want to have sex with young girls. At the time of the sexual assault, Samantha repeatedly made it clear she was saying “no” to his advances but Roman forced himself on her regardless. So make no mistake Roman is guilty of raping a minor. There was no consent.

    Samantha made a statement (2008) that Roman was wrong/guilty for his actions but she feels he’s paid the price since his escape from USA with all the restrictions he’s endured since that time by avoiding extradition and the public shame. She’s also stated she thinks Roman is sorry and she thinks Roman knows what he did was wrong.

  11. lorena • January 19, 2017 @ 2:39 PM

    Don’t worry Roman – you may “think” you got away with this – but hell is eternal – and God knows exactly what happened between you and that little girl. Hope you have a fireproof suit – cause you gonna need it baby.

  12. Mary Auld • January 19, 2017 @ 3:00 PM

    Does not surprise me….in the entertainment industry, people like Polanski are revered and placed on a pedestal…there appears to be no ‘filter’ among so-called celebrities and their ilk for anything…they seem able to push to the side any of the horrible things they have done and the fact they are in the ‘industry’ ‘trumps’ all..,(pardon the pun). They really are horrible people, people who their whole lives pretend to be someone else and in the end…..don’t know who THEY really are. Very dysfunctional people.

  13. Cody • January 19, 2017 @ 3:04 PM

    @lorena: Your judgement and glee at the thought of him burning would land you in that same hell.

    As to the article, I don’t like the guy, but you can enjoy someone’s art without liking the artist. If he’s a good director, he’s perfectly entitled to awards on those grounds.

  14. Kaney • January 19, 2017 @ 3:18 PM

    I agree, after all the USA has elected a rich, fat, sexist, racist, liar as their 45th president.
    Polanski is a brilliant artist who is not perfect and whe went through the brutal murder of his wife Sharon Tate and their unborn but very viable son.
    I wouldn’t necessarily want Polanski as a friend but if someone had a gun to my head and I had to chose one or the other it would not be #45

  15. Grindal • January 19, 2017 @ 3:33 PM

    What he’s entitled to is to be in jail. For a very long time. And while in jail, he would not be allowed to make movies. So he’s entitled to nothing. And anyone giving him awards or making movies with him is condoning the rape of children. Because that little girl wasn’t the first and wasn’t the last. Pedophiles don’t stop. They need to be locked up, not celebrated. Here’s what he said in 1979 to Tatler magazine: “Everyone wants to f— young girls!” and “Normal love isn’t interesting. I assure you that it’s incredibly boring.”

  16. Sonia • January 19, 2017 @ 3:45 PM

    Disgusting, sick and disturbed pervert. To exploit his position and intimidate young girls, or anyone for that matter, is pure evil and an elevated form of bullying. Bullying isn’t even the right word. Even though he “paid his dues”, I believe in karma and things will not go well for him in his afterlife.

  17. chacalcdn • January 19, 2017 @ 4:09 PM

    Being white, famous and fortunate seems to push the boundaries of decency to no end wether 1973 or today.
    The law may be blind but…
    Paupers beware the LAW is watching.

  18. Joe Gage • January 19, 2017 @ 4:15 PM

    Alexandra didn’t hide her agenda very well.

  19. Krista • January 19, 2017 @ 4:52 PM

    I don’t know how Roman Polanski went on after his pregnant wife Sharon Tate was brutally murdered by the Charles Manson family. This is not an excuse for his behaviour but an attempt to understand his life choices after such trauma. This doesn’t give him a free pass to commit crimes. But at what point do we forgive? He is more than this crime. Yes he shouldn’t have fled but should that action represent his whole life?

  20. kotb • January 19, 2017 @ 5:31 PM

    Yes this rape should ruin Roman’s life and the USA court shouldn’t have made plea bargain back in the 1970s so he could plead guilty to a lighter sentence.

    He should have rotted in jail for a while.

    The French Cesar’s should not be paying tribute to him or giving him this title at the coming awards. Roman is a black eye on Hollywood, French filmmaking and France.

    if you think you’re self entitled to help yourself to a 13 year old child there’s something wrong with your ego and your psyche. If allegations are true and he did the same thing to 16 year old girl only four years after fleeing America, something isn’t jelling properly with his morality.

    I question the Cesar awards organization because they had to know this would bring controversy in the Twitterverse we live in today. Roman should have at least rejected the role. Everytime he makes headlines, his 1970s rape is immediately brought up in the media again and his first 13 year old victim, now middle-aged woman, has to see those headlines and relive the scandal all over again.

    He should disappear from public eye and leave his fortune to his victims in his will.

  21. Rochelle • January 19, 2017 @ 5:51 PM

    Congratulations to Roman Polanski. One of the best directors of all times.

  22. Al • January 19, 2017 @ 6:09 PM

    Dear Alexandra Heilbron,

    I’m not sure your headline is appreciated as it is manipulative. Roman Polanski was accused of rape but only in the United States, not in his home country France. And Samantha Geimer herself she wished Polanski could be forgiven as she has done.
    My point is, please stick to reporting movie news, and don’t bother us with your passive aggressive views on an event nobody cares about anymore.

  23. Claudette • January 19, 2017 @ 7:08 PM

    I’m totally onboard that any man taking advantage of a young girl is deplorable. For those of you here asking about his children … you not old enough to know how Roman is connected to Charles Mason … Charlie sent his posse into Romans home while he was not at home. His very pregnant wife Sharon Tate was at home and had guests that evening. Sharon was brutally murdered as was their soon to be born son, as was the guests. Now Hollywood at that time and before … it was pretty common for men to take advantage of women trying to get into silent movies .. and the talkies… the men in Hollywood could make you or break you …. it was a mans world. And that’s the way it was … key word here is what was … in the 1970s began the action for women’s liberation…..overall women got tired of being second class citizens, used, abused, stuck barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, obeying their husbands, overall being treated as door mats … Roman was certainly not the only man in Hollywood to own a casting couch .. he just happened to be exposed as woman’s liberation had taken hold. Mankind been around for 3.5 million yrs .. nobody questioned any mans moves or demands….. nice to see some countries have put a stop to it … but the work is not done yet….you can hate Roman … he is just one in a laundry list of men in Hollywood before him …

  24. Mary • January 19, 2017 @ 9:46 PM

    Agenda is right. I receive the Tribute email newsletter and the headline was “Outrage over convicted rapist Roman Polanski honor”. I think Tribute should report the news instead of trying to manufacture it.

  25. KathyK-inTO • January 20, 2017 @ 2:02 AM

    The decision to honour Polanski doesn’t say much for the French Film Academy & their apparent disregard for the wellbeing of children unable to give consent.
    DISGUSTED by this action of the French film industry.

  26. Bob • January 20, 2017 @ 2:16 AM

    Rochelle… wouldn’t be congratulating this criminal if it was you or your child that was raped and sodomized.

  27. Rodney Newton • January 20, 2017 @ 1:03 PM

    Poland should have extradited him to the United States. Roman should not be involved in winning an Oscar or Cesar award.I consider him to be a criminal, just like Charles Manson in California, at Sharon Tate’s home. I’ve seen his movies and heard all about his private life.

  28. alex • January 20, 2017 @ 3:11 PM

    I respected and admired Polanski as a film director before I learned that he had drugged and taken advance on an aspiring young actress. I consider myself a person with an open mind and believe that art is a complex thing but to abuse power as an artist to satisfy perversity hats way beyond and artists humanity.

  29. Samantha • January 20, 2017 @ 7:57 PM

    Those of you who are complaining about this article being manipulative or biased must be in support of child rapists. I don’t see anything biased about it at all, it’s just stating the facts. Was he convicted of raping and sodomizing a child? Yes. Did he plead guilty? Yes. Did he run away to France before they could put him behind bars? Yes. And by the way, France is not “his home country.” He was born there to Polish parents but raised in Poland. The only reason he’s living in France is because they don’t have an extradition policy.

  30. Werdfu • January 22, 2017 @ 7:40 AM

    DEAR KANEY ,I agree with all you said about trump,
    So enough with your totally off topic liberal political rant!!!!
    This has nothing to do with any politician left or right!!!!
    It’s about a convicted yes convicted child rapist who is now about to be honored for an award!!!

  31. Candy Osborne • January 22, 2017 @ 3:22 PM

    I want all the news. I am outraged. For those of you poor babies whining to just report the news, just the facts? That’s what they did. If you want all your news filtered ask Mommy or Daddy to censor it for you.

    As for one person who stated there will be judgement I saw no glee at all, just that she took comfort that a CONVICTED PEDOPHILE would not escape judgement forever. If countries don’t cooperate to make sure convicted criminals serve their sentence after conviction at least some can take comfort in the fact that eventually we will all be judged.

    Poor victim wants it to go away, so that people forget about her, simple as that.

    Disgusting animal…and that is an insult to animals.

  32. Nadine • January 22, 2017 @ 11:35 PM

    Al, the writer did her job in sharing this news. Roman Polanski is a convicted rapist. He is being honoured by the French film industry. Period. He wasn’t convicted in a country where he had no access to a fair trial. Why even bring up the fact that he doesn’t live in the US? I hope you’re not suggesting that when men are away from home, they can do what they want, or that the French film industry doesn’t consider his crimes “real” because they happened overseas.

    Whether the women he hurt forgive him or not is truly no one’s business but theirs; their forgiveness isn’t even *his* business. Sexual assault & abuse survivors forgive so that they can heal and move on in their own lives. If Polanski has come to some awareness of how he hurt those girls and he’s truly sorry for it, then bully for him. My only wish for people like him is sudden, blinding self-awareness and all the regret, shame, and suffering to go with it.

  33. Nadine • January 23, 2017 @ 1:12 AM

    The writer reported the news: Roman Polanski is a convicted rapist. He is being honoured by the French film industry. Period. Why even bring up the fact that he doesn’t live in the US? I hope you’re not suggesting that when men are away from home, they can do what they want; or that the French film industry doesn’t consider his crimes “real” because they happened overseas.

    Whether the women he hurt forgive him or not is truly no one’s business but theirs; their forgiveness isn’t even *his* business. Sexual assault & abuse survivors forgive so that they can heal and move on in their own lives. If Polanski has come to some awareness of how he hurt those girls and he’s truly sorry for it, then bully for him. My only wish for people like him is sudden, blinding self-awareness and all the regret, shame, and suffering to go with it. BUT why wold he? How exactly has he suffered since being able to use his privilege to escape prison and continue his professional & personal life unimpeded in any way?

    And please don’t bring up Manson; that has nothing to do with this.

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