France, Poland Backtrack on Polanski Support

Calls for director's release dropped as public backlash grows
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2009 4:21 AM CDT
Film director Roman Polanski has become a polarizing figure in France, Poland and the US.   (AP Photo/Roberto Pfeil)
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(Newser) – The governments of France and Poland are beginning to distance themselves from Roman Polanski amid a public backlash against earlier support for the film director, who holds passports from both countries. In France—where the foreign minister called for Polanski's release earlier this week—a government spokesman said yesterday that the director "is neither above nor beneath the law. There is a legal process underway for a serious affair—the rape of a minor," he added.

In Poland, which also called for the extradition warrant to be dropped, the prime minister told his ministers to show "greater restraint" in defending Polanski. Public opinion in both countries is strongly against Polanski despite the support the director has from leading cultural figures. "This affair will feed the feeling that France’s leaders and its intellectuals live by codes and rules that have nothing to do with ordinary people,” one analyst tells the Financial Times.
(Read more France stories.)