Emma Thompson's Name To Be Removed From Polanski Petition This Week

Illustration for article titled Emma Thompsons Name To Be Removed From Polanski Petition This Week

Emma Thompson was on The View today to talk about her admirable work fighting sex trafficking. Strangely, the ladies didn't ask her about another case of sexual exploitation—the one Roman Polanski perpetrated and Thompson initially appeared to endorse.

Thompson, you see, disappointed many of her fans earlier this fall when she signed a petition — along with a host of other boldface names, including Salman Rushdie, Natalie Portman, and Diane Von Furstenburg — demanding that Polanski be freed on charges relating to his rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

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Luckily, Caitlin Hayward-Tapp was nowhere near as abstemious as the View ladies: last week, the 19-year-old Exeter University student gutsily convinced Thompson to remove her name from the petition demanding Polanski's freeing. But as of this morning, Thompson's name was still on the petition, which is hosted on the website of French public intellectual Bernard Henri-Levy.

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After we contacted her a few hours ago, Ms. Thompson's publicist told us that her client "...requested that her name be removed when she said she would. We have asked for confirmation from them but have not yet received it."

We also asked Mr. Henri-Levy's camp for an update, and Liliane Lazar, a former French professor who worked with him on the petition, responded, saying that Thompson's name will be removed Wednesday. As for why it would take several days to remove a line from a posting on a webpage, Ms. Lazar has yet to say.

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Related: Thompson Talked Out of Support For Polanski by 19-year-old Student [Independent]
Polanski Business: In Which Emma Thompson Breaks My Heart [Shakesville]
Dear Emma... [Shakesville]

Earlier: Emma Thompson To Remove Name From Polanski Petition?
Letters From Hollywood: Roman Polanski's Rape Of Child No Big Thing

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DISCUSSION

Thompson's change of heart has been enlightening for me. It seems clear that within much of the Hollywood community, Polanski's crime has been obscured and minimized while his own suffering has been highlighted. It took an outspoken advocate bringing the issue up with Thompson directly for her to really look into what Polanski did and ask herself whether her reasons for signing the petition (sympathy for Polanski's Holocaust suffering, questions about the judge, and peer pressure) really merited signing.

I'm sure plenty of signers would stand by their decision even if pressed. But I also have no doubt that a significant number would at least consider removing their names if they were faced with the actual facts of Polanski's crimes (instead of the "not rape-rape" justifications that have floated around Hollywood). It's sad how many of these people seem like smart, thoughtful artists. I've already decided to write off a good number of them — I'm the sort of person who insists on paying for creative works, and I'm happy to withhold my hard-earned cash from people who hold repugnant views. I wouldn't see a movie with a Nazi-sympathizer in it either.

Kudos to Thompson. #emmathompsonromanpolanski