Film director Roman Polanski is one of the most disgraced people in all of Hollywood because he’s a fugitive from Justice from the United States for fleeing the country after he was convicted of “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor” or more commonly referred to as statutory rape.
Polanski audaciously petitioned Los Angeles Superior Court recently to restore his Academy of Motion Pictures (the organization that runs the Academy Awards ceremony) membership because they revoked it earlier this year.
And the Academy just fired back at disgraced director Roman Polanski but is it too little too late?
The story goes that on March 11th 1977, just three years removed from directing his smash hit “Chinatown,” Polanski was arrested in Beverly Hills for sexual assault against a 13-year-old girl that occurred at Jack Nicholson’s home while he was out of town.
Shortly after his conviction, he learned that Judge Laurence Rittenband planned to disregard the plea deal and sentence Polanski to 50 years in prison saying, “I’ll make sure this man never gets out of jail,” the Academy Award winner fled the country to Paris, France and has been an international wanted fugitive by the United States government ever since.
That didn’t stop him from making movies though. He’s made approximately twenty-five movies since that fateful year and even won an Oscar for Best Director for “The Pianist” in 2002 when his colleagues disgustingly gave the fugitive a standing ovation in his absence.
Then earlier this year, likely due to the mounting and ongoing pressure from the Me Too Movement, the Academy of Motion Pictures revoked Polanski’s membership.
But Polanski petitioned Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday to restore his membership in the organization.
The five-page filing accused the Academy of not giving sufficient notice of his expulsion and they “failed to comply with its own rules, policies, and regulations.” It also noted California law requires that corporations be required to give a fair hearing before removal.
The Academy was having none of that absurdity and elaborated on why they expelled Polanski.
A filing from the Academy read, “The full circumstances of this case — including petitioner’s admitted unlawful sexual intercourse with a thirteen year-old minor, his fugitive status, the Academy’s paramount interest in upholding respect for human dignity among its members, and the Academy’s invitations to petitioner to present in writing anything and everything he thought relevant to expulsion and to present his case to the Board in person or via video conference — demonstrate that the Academy’s expulsion process was fair and reasonable.”
And on Tuesday, Polanski’s lawyer fired back saying, “We asked to appear before the board to present Mr. Polanski’s side and answer questions, but they refused to let us do that. It’s incredible arrogance. We’re looking forward to litigating this case through discovery.”
A trial has been set for August 15th.
But is it too little too late for the Academy of Motion Pictures?
It’s not like the Academy was oblivious to his fugitive status in the United States. They’ve known about it since the late 1970s and still allowed him to be nominated in two different categories for his harrowing depiction of a Polish Jewish world-class musician struggling to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II in “The Pianist.”
His filmmaking peers including Meryl Streep gave him a standing ovation and the Academy allowed the despicable celebration of the American fugitive.
It is too little too late for the Academy despite them suddenly doing the right thing, especially when you consider their recent decision was justified because of the Me Too Movement because if that never happened, they would’ve never revoked Polanski’s membership.