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Why Are Female Directors Silent About Roman Polanski’s Arrest?

I have yet to hear my fellow female directors calling for Roman Polanski to return to the United States to face sentencing for his admitted guilt of statutory rape.

I guess I mistakenly believed that as women and artists we would be genuinely appalled that a man got away with raping a 13-year-old girl. And now we hear that he did not even pay the victim in the civil lawsuit.

Don’t buy the argument that the passage of years since that crime was committed allows him to avoid judgment. It is just a bogus excuse for a talented director being above the law. We are still tracking down Nazi criminals and bringing them to justice.

Don’t get me wrong. As a child of Holocaust survivors myself, I am sympathetic to Polanski’s horrifying and harrowing childhood. I love his filmmaking and listen to the music from “The Pianist” all the time. I think he deserved the Oscar, but that statue does not also allow him the prize of going scot-free for statutory rape. Rape is rape, Whoopi.

I am so upset that male directors are defending Polanski and no one is speaking out about the rights of young vulnerable girls. Are we going to continue this culture of the male director getting away with rape because young female wannabe wants to be in a film or participate in a photo shoot?

Where are the feminist filmmakers? So far we have only heard publicly from male directors, and yes some actresses, that Polanski should be left alone. I know in the feature world we only make up a sad 5% of directors, but the entertainment industry has to hear our opinions.

Have we lost our voice or did we never have it?

Are we just going to sit back and let Harvey Weinstein — a producer, whose company’s recent film encourages the re-writing of World War II history — speak for the film industry?


Aviva Kempner is a documentary filmmaker. “Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg,” Kempner’s documentary about the actress and screenwriter Gertrude Berg, was released earlier this year.

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