Roman Polanski’s sordid past continue to haunt him.
The famed director of Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown will not personally collect a lifetime achievement award from the Locarno Film Festival as originally planned.
The Hollywood Reporter says media critics as well as local Swiss politicians blasted the decision to fete Polanski given his abuse of a pre-teen back in 1977. Court records showed Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and Champagne before anally raping her. He spent 42 days in prison before fleeing the country rather than face the full force of the U.S. legal system.
The director said he had no choice but to withdraw from the event.
In a statement released by the Locarno festival, Polanski said: “Dear Friends, I am sorry to inform you that having considered the extent to which my planned appearance at the Locarno Festival provokes tensions and controversies among those opposed to my visit, even as I respect their opinions, it is with a heavy heart that I must cancel my visit. I am deeply saddened to disappoint you….”
The festival’s official response–outrage.
The Locarno Festival called the opposition to Polanski’s visit “unacceptable interference of some in the artistic liberty of the festival.” It added: “We are greatly saddened that the public will thereby be deprived of an important opportunity for cultural enrichment.”