Tuesday, September 29, 2009


This is not the post I was going to make tonight.

I was looking forward to taking advantage of my evening off to give you a nice Crunchy Process Goodness post that's been brewing in my brain about Pride and Prejudice. Then, this morning, I read this article about the petition demanding the release of Roman Polanski. I'm embarrassed for my industry. I'm embarrassed that this statement is being perceived as our collective position on the subject.

And make no mistake, it is being perceived that way. Type Polanski's name in the search box on Twitter or in a Google Blog search, and watch the derisive comments about the industry as a whole scroll by. Who can blame them, given the growing list of signatories, individuals and institutions alike?

I'm exactly nobody in this business. I have no illusions about that. After all, that's the reason I don't post about contentious subjects here. This blog is a fun place to yammer about the work I love, with the occasional shameless plug or YouTube video that makes me happy. The last thing my modestly growing little career needs is for somebody to Google me and be offended by my spouting off on a contentious subject.

This subject should be anything but contentious.

I'm nobody. So maybe it means nothing to anyone but me that I declare, definitively and on my public blog, that this document does not speak for me. Or maybe it will mean something. I don't know.

There are so many things wrong with the statements in that petition: The characterization of Mr. Polanski's offense as "a case of morals," as if he got caught skinny-dipping in a hotel pool. The implication that an outstanding warrant should somehow not count simply because of its age, and the failure to acknowledge that he is not merely a suspect but a convicted felon.

And then there's this: By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for film-makers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.

I have the greatest respect for the tradition of presenting works by filmmakers who face genuine political persecution, who struggle and risk to create in the shadow of oppressive governments. I applaud festivals for doing whatever they can to get these people there safely and get their voices heard.

That the text of the petition equates Mr. Polanski's situation with theirs, when his arrest is the consequence of actions that have nothing to do with his work, is disingenuous and deeply insulting.

I'm nobody in this industry. But that's not to say nobody in the industry is standing up to dissent.

Kirstie Alley. Allison Anders. Alison Arngrim. Patricia Arquette. Adam Barken. Roseanne Barr. Ed Bernero. Luc Besson. Carrie Brownstein. Drew Carey. Beth Chamberlin. Noel Clarke. Paul Cornell. Michael Cudlitz. Jamie Lee Curtis. Sarah Fain. Lexa Doig. Jesse Eisenberg. Darren Ewing. Elisabeth Fies. Neil Gaiman. Martin Gero. Melissa Gilbert. Christopher Gorham. Javier Grillo-Marxuach. Greg Grunberg. Hart Hanson. Lore Hartounian. Salma Hayek (on Access Hollywood, link pending). Aviva Kempner. Sue Kramer. Lisa Kudrow. Robert Llewellyn. Joshua Malina. Denis McGrath. Ashley Edward Miller. Tom Morello. Rosie O'Donnell. Mo Rocca. Chris Rock. Michael Seitzman. Sherri Shepherd. Kevin Smith. Zack Stentz. Kurt Sutter. Alison Sweeney. Emma Thompson. Bo Zenga.

Honorable mention to a former Hollywoodite, because, well, the people of California did elect him Governor and all.

It might not be a very long list, but it's a start. And I'm sure there are more I don't know about. I'll add them as I become aware of them.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled babble.

Edit, 10/1/09: Thanks to yinyang for the comment pointing me to chrismm's post. I'm borrowing from her list (and the suggestions of her commenters) to expand this one, but also recommend you head over there. Partly to congratulate her on a job very well done, but also to check out the additional public figures -- authors, journalists, musicians, etc. -- whom I haven't added here only because it's the film industry that's primarily being perceived as calling for his release as a monolithic entity, and I want to do my little bit to demonstrate that isn't the case. She's also more thorough than I am with multiple links and descriptions. Generally awesome, please check out!

Edit, 10/3/09: I've now seen (and added my name to) two counter-petitions online, one at Care2 and another at Big Hollywood. The latter specifically calls on industry professionals.


anna said...

I just feel uncomfortable about him and the whole thing.

havoc the cat said...


Unknown said...

You can add Kirstie Alley to that list.


Unknown said...

Hooray! Thanks, Amanda!

Karen said...

Thanks for posting this!


the blogger formerly known as yinyang said...

There's a longer list of people over at chrismm's dreamwidth. I don't know if they're all "industry" per se, largely because I'm very unfamiliar with all but the biggest names, but I thought I'd throw it out there so you could decide who to add to your list.

Unknown said...

anna - You and me both! :-{

havoc - *smooch*

Karen - You're very welcome, and thanks for visiting!

yinyang - Thank you!! I've been hoping to find at least one other list to crib from shamelessly...er, combine forces with.

Anonymous said...

You know what, right now it's people like you who make me feel like not everyone in Hollywood is an asshole. :)

You are very brave for saying this. I get how difficult it must be to speak out against someone so famous and respected, but this is what makes you a REAL HUMAN instead of just a coward.

Unknown said...

Nixy - Thank you so much! Though I have to admit (not to be ungrateful!), it's not all that difficult or brave for me. I'm not even in the same galaxy as these people's radar. The more established folks with something to lose get my applause.

Anonymous said...

Hi Valerie! I found my way here because someone linked to this post, and I just wanted to show my support. :)
I feel like an idiot for saying this, but I don't really know what you've been in?
I blame the fact that I'm a foreigner, I'm Swedish, so I don't know all the American shows. ;)

I've read some of your blog entries now and you seem like an awesome person and we geek girls must stick together, so I'm gonna start following your blog. :)

I added you on Twitter too btw, but a blog is so much more interesting than Twitter - if you ask me. ;)

Anonymous said...

BTW, a somewhat interesting comparison... A while ago, a Swedish opera singer was arrested for raping a teenager, and he got sentenced to jail for it.

It was however sickening to see and hear so many celebrities who defended him and didn't speak up against his actions.

Especially, the fact that a lot of his male "friends" suspected something and did nothing about it, nor did they question him and his actions...

It was only the actress, whose au-pair girl got raped, who decided to bring up charges against him. One woman.

Oh well, I'm not gonna go on a feminism rant here, but it was still interesting to see... ;)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Nixy - I'm waiting for several things to come out, but I meant it when I said I'm nobody. Maybe someday soon I'll have something you can see me in! (Hopefully I'll have news soon on this.)

Unknown said...

Thank you for speaking out.

Anonymous said...

Cyrus sounds interesting. :)

I don't suppose you could tell us what it's about and what character you play? Or have you signed one of those legal thingies that forbids you to?

I vaguely recognise Brian Kraus...and Lance Henriksen, of course. He's a great actor.

Sing Clementine said...

Thank you for posting this.

Unknown said...

There's more info & the trailer (warning: it's pretty bloody) at the official site.

I'm a town-gossip type character in a flashback that takes place a number of years before the main part of the movie. So I didn't get to meet most of the big names -- I was especially bummed that Lance Henriksen left town about three hours before I arrived! -- but I did get to play sidekick to Patricia Belcher (probably best known as Caroline Julian, the prosecutor on Bones), who is all kinds of awesome.

My post about my time on the set is here. I'm really hoping to hear about distribution soon, even if it just ends up as a SyFy "original" or something.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Valerie--this is Chris from over at Dreamwidth. Finally got my list updated and I wanted to say thank you for doing this here--I think it's really helpful to have a more focused list with just industry people.

(Let's see if OpenID works with LJ down for maintenance. :D ETA: Nope! Guess I'll go with Anonymous)

Unknown said...

Chris - knew there was a reason I left anonymous commenting open! One good thing about being not at all high-profile. *g*

It's so heartening to see both lists growing. The "Hollywood vs. Real People" impression all over the media just makes me cringe.

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