Roman Polanski Says Critics 'Know Nothing' About Rape Case, Slams 'Despicable' Coverage of Sharon Tate Murder
“Most of the people who harass me do not know me and know nothing about the case,” the filmmaker claims.
Roman Polanski isn’t attending the Venice Film Festival this year, but he’s already caused quite a stir surrounding his new movie’s premiere.
Despite his absence, the controversial filmmaker — who pled guilty to statutory rape of a 13-year-old in 1977, but fled to France to avoid the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence — was asked about the MeToo and Times Up movements in an interview for the press notes of his new film, "An Officer and a Spy."
French writer Pascal Bruckner, who interviewed Polanski in the press notes, asked the Oscar-winner how he "will survive the present-day neo-feminist McCarthyism," as well as the people who try to "prevent" the screening of his films.
"Working, making a film like this helps me a lot," Polanski replied, per Deadline. "In the story, I sometimes find moments I have experienced myself, I can see the same determination to deny the facts and condemn me for things I have not done. Most of the people who harass me do not know me and know nothing about the case … My work is not therapy."
He added, "However, I must admit that I am familiar with many of the workings of the apparatus of persecution shown in the film, and that has clearly inspired me."
The movie revolves around the true life story of Alfred Dreyfus, a man who who was falsely accused of treason.
Polanski implied that his own "persecution" began with the murder of his wife Sharon Tate by Charles Manson’s followers in August 1969.
"The way people see me, my ‘image,’ did indeed start to form with Sharon Tate’s death," he explained. "When it happened, even though I was already going through a terrible time, the press got hold of the tragedy and, unsure of how to deal with it, covered it in the most despicable way, implying, among other things, that I was one of the people responsible for her murder, against a background of satanism."
He continued, "For them, my film ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ proved that I was in league with the devil! It lasted several months, until the police finally found the real killers, Charles Manson and his ‘family.’"
"All this still haunts me today," he added. "Anything and everything. It is like a snowball, each season adds another layer. Absurd stories by women I have never seen before in my life who accuse me of things which supposedly happened more than half a century ago."
When Bruckner asked why Polanski doesn’t "want to fight back," he replied, "What for? It’s like tilting at windmills."
In 2013, Polanski’s victim, Samantha Geimer, said she had received a message from Polanski saying, "I want you to know how sorry I am for having so affected your life." She added that she had "been in touch with him just a little bit by email" since.
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