Roman Polanski blames the media for 'trying to make me into a monster'

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  • Roman Polanski
    Roman Polanski
    Polish-French film director, producer, writer, actor
  • Harvey Weinstein
    Harvey Weinstein
    American film producer
  • Valentine Monnier
    French actress
Roman Polanski, Harvey Weinstein
Roman Polanski says Harvey Weinstein once led a smear campaign against him. (Photos: Getty Images)

Roman Polanski blames Harvey Weinstein for some of his personal woes.

The An Officer and a Spy director — who remains a fugitive from U.S. justice for his 1977 conviction of unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl, Samantha Geimer — has spoken out for the first time since a new allegation of rape was made against him by French actress Valentine Monnier in November. In an interview with Paris Match, he called Monnier’s claimed “absurd,” said the media is “trying to make me into a monster” and alleged that Weinstein tried to smear his reputation during a vicious 2003 Oscar campaign by branding him a “child rapist.”

First, Polanski “absolutely den[ied]” raping Monnier, then an 18-year-old model and actress, violently at a ski chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland in 1975.

“Obviously I have no memory of it because it is false,” he said in the interview, which Yahoo Entertainment read a translated version of.

As for the claim he also beat her during the alleged assault, he said, “Clearly accusing me of rape isn’t sensational enough any more, you have to add another layer.” He added, “I do not hit women.”

When the interviewer brought up the #MeToo movement being born out of the many women who have accused disgraced producer Weinstein of sexual misconduct, Polanski, 86, said, he never had any connection to him. However, he went on to claim that Weinstein was behind a nasty smear campaign against him when he was up for an Academy Award for 2003’s The Pianist.

“Weinstein was known as a shark in business, but I knew nothing of his stories with women,” Polanski said. While he said he was “very surprised by the avalanche of accusations ... on the other hand, I know that in 2003, Weinstein panicked when The Pianist received two awards at BAFTAs, the British Oscars, including Best Film. Weinstein, who had two Oscar-nominated films” that year, Chicago and Gangs of New York, then “launched a campaign to prevent the same thing from happening” at the Oscars.

Polanski claims Weinstein unearthed his case with Geimer from decades earlier “which no one was interested in anymore.” He said Weinstein’s “press agent was the first person to call me a 'child rapist.’”

Polanski pointed out that while The Pianist did not win for Best Film — it went to Chicago, one of Weinstein’s projects — he won for Best Director, which “Harrison Ford accepted it on my behalf, in front of the whole room.”

A rep for Weinstein, who has denied all accusations of sexual misconduct against him, did not respond to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment about Polanski’s allegation.

Polanski went on to say in the interview that he feels the media has been “trying to make me into a monster” since he admitted to the statutory rape of Geimer in a plea bargain in 1977. He served 42 days in jail at the time but fled the country when he was told the judge would be reconsidering the deal and he would have to serve much more jail time.

“I got used to slander, my skin thickened,” he said. However, he added that for his wife since 1989, Emmanuelle Seigner, and their two children “it's terrible” and that they “suffer enormously.” (Polanski was previously married to late actresses Sharon Tate and Barbara Kwiatkowska-Lass.)

And while he doesn’t think speaking out to defend himself will “change the course of things,” he’s doing it for his family, who has received insults and threats on social media.

Polanski went on to say that “of course, I am responsible. In 1977, I made a mistake,” but it’s his family paying the price all this time later. And that the media seizes each new false accusation, “even absurd and without substance,” because it allows “them to revive this story.”

And Polanski said that Geimer — whom he was accused of drugging and raping at Jack Nicholson’s L.A. home when she modeled for him at age 13 in 1977 — has suffered greatly from the continued media reports about her case.

“Whatever I have done, in any way, is deeply regrettable,” he said. “I have said many times, I wrote to Samantha with whom I maintain contact, she knows it. She and her family have suffered because of me, and in spite of me it continues. Every time we throw a new lie against me, we come back to it.”

He continued, “She has written to the prosecutor several times to explain that the trauma caused by the media circus is much worse than what I have done to her. Nobody takes it into account.”

When Polanski’s latest film, An Officer and a Spy (in French: J'accuse) was released last month in Paris, protesters disrupted the premiere. However, when the film debuted at the Venice International Film Festival in August, it won the Grand Jury Prize.

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