Welcome to the Countdown: Top 21 stories of 2017.
Special to WorldTribune.com
Three-time Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep recently expressed “shock” that her former co-star Clint Eastwood is supporting Donald Trump, declaring that she hoped he would be “more sensitive” than that. She has also been quoted as saying that “all the women say no” to a Trump presidency.
In Streep’s world, here’s what all the women apparently say yes to.
The actress notoriously gave a standing ovation to child rapist Roman Polanski when Harrison Ford accepted the Oscar for Best Director on behalf of the fugitive from justice at the 2003 Academy Awards.
Streep also burbled, “Roman Polanski, I’m very sorry that he’s in jail” at a 2009 film festival in Rome as Polanski was briefly jailed and then brutally held under house arrest at his chalet in the alpine resort town of Gstaad while attempts were made to have him extradited to the United States.
Polanski fled the U.S. in 1978 during his trial for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl. No one is disputing that he plied the child with champagne, drugged her with a quaalude and then performed oral and anal sex on her.
Donald Trump has allegedly said mean things about women.
Streep’s breathtaking hypocrisy is far from unique.
Other Hollywood celebrities deserve special recognition for seamlessly following up their public displays of support for Polanski seven years ago with equally public displays of outrage over the “sexist” Trump in 2016.
Director Michael Mann, best known for the 1995 film “Heat” starring Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, is the only person whose name shows up on a recent “Artists United Against Hate” petition of 100 Hollywood celebrities who condemn the Republican presidential nominee as a man whose “rhetoric and policy proposals exclude, degrade, and harm” women and on a 2009 petition of filmmakers demanding Polanski’s immediate release from his Swiss jail cell.
Another name on the anti-Trump petition, director Doug Liman, best known for the 1996 film “Swingers,” appeared at vocal Polanski backer Harvey Weinstein’s official screening party for the 2008 HBO “documentary” “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired.”
The film has been criticized as a “whitewashing” of Polanski.
Fox News’s Roger Friedman’s gushing report of the swank event notes that “25 famous directors hosted the screening and dinner to show support for Polanski.”
Listed among those was Liman, who according to the petition he signed opposes Trump because “We are united against violence. We are united against sexism.”
Keeping with this spirit, director Jonathan Demme, best known for 1991’s “Silence of the Lambs,” added his name to a “#StopHateDumpTrump” campaign in January that slammed the real estate billionaire for “inciting hatred” against women.
Demme’s name can also be found on the petition to free Polanski.
“Wanted and Desired” financial backer Weinstein wrote an infamous editorial at the time in the UK’s Independent in which he brazenly declared, “Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time.”
Weinstein was recently seen raising $1.8 million for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign at a June fundraiser with his Hollywood friends.
Many more similarly outrageous quotes can be found among current rabid Hillary supporters, including from her friends in the media.
Washington Post columnists Anne Applebaum and Richard Cohen were pilloried in 2009 for their over-the-top defenses of Polanski.
In a column titled “The Outrageous Arrest of Roman Polanski,” Applebaum argued that the on-the-lam Polanski had suffered enough over the years in terms of lawyer’s fees and personal inconvenience.
Without offering any corresponding proof, she wrote that “There is evidence that Polanski did not know [the girl’s] real age.”
Applebaum concluded her screed by stating “If he weren’t famous, I bet no one would bother with him at all.”
Today, Applebaum can be found writing and tweeting almost exclusively about Trump. In a July tweet she stated that “Trump is amoral” and “doesn’t respect US law.”
By the way, the victim released a photo Polanski took of her three weeks before he raped her when she wrote a memoir in 2013. Take a look at the girl who Applebaum declares may have seemed of age to Polanski.
Polanski himself casually admitted in a disgusting 1984 interview with Britain’s Clive James that he “knew [the victim] was [about to turn] 14 because she was talking about her birthday before that.”
Go ahead and look at that photo again. Then read the following:
Applebaum’s Washington Post colleague Cohen doesn’t seem to believe there is a victim at all in the Polanski case, callously writing in 2009 that “There is no doubt that Polanski did what he did, which is have sex with a 13-year-old after plying her with booze. There is no doubt also that after all these years there is something stale about the case, not to mention a ‘victim.'”
This is the same Cohen who wrote in a May column for the Post of his palpable fear of his fellow Americans due to their support for the woman-hating Trump:
“Donald Trump has taught me to fear my fellow American. I don’t mean the occasional yahoo who turns a Trump rally into a hate fest. I mean the ones who do nothing. Who are silent. Who look the other way. If you had told me a year ago that a hateful brat would be the presidential nominee of a major political party, I would have scoffed. Someone who denigrated women? Not possible…. Not in America. Not in my America. ”
Having no problem at all with child rape was apparently endemic at the Post in 2009.
The paper’s Pulitzer-Prize winning television critic Tom Shales grotesquely dismissed the scandal by writing in an online exchange with readers: “There is, apparently, more to this crime than it would seem, and it may sound like a hollow defense, but in Hollywood I am not sure a 13-year-old is really a 13-year-old.”
Another stunning quote came from longtime Hollywood liberal activist Peg Yorkin, founder of the Feminist Majority Foundation, who said of Polanski in 2009:
“My personal thoughts are let the guy go. It’s bad a person was raped. But that was so many years ago. The guy has been through so much in his life. It’s crazy to arrest him now. Let it go.”
Yorkin is listed as Chair of the Board for her foundation, which amazingly features a campaign push on its website this very moment titled “Rape Is Rape: No More Excuses.”
She co-chaired (or co-hosted) a $33,400-per-couple fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Bel Air in April that featured President Barack Obama, Variety reports.
Turning away from Polanski, another wealthy California Democrat who hosted Obama this year is Steve Westly, who made his fortune as an early executive at eBay.
He hosted Obama in his Atherton home on Feb. 11 for a fundraiser to pay down the president’s remaining campaign debts.
The Daily Caller reports Westly has “bundled more than $500,000 for Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money to Obama and other Democrats, including Hillary Clinton.”
Here’s something else he did.
Gurbaksh Chahal, founder of the advertising firm RadiumOne, “was accused of hitting his girlfriend 100 times during one half-hour period” last year, the Los Angeles Times reports.
As Patrick McGreevey notes for the Times:
“The Wall Street Journal reported in September that Westly, who was on the company’s board, sent an email indicating that former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, an attorney, knew the San Francisco district attorney and ‘may be able to “back him off.”‘
“Westly, a Democrat, also said in an email to Chahal that Brown’s request for $1 million to make the case go away was ‘probably worth it if he can make it happen. I suspect he will pull out all the stops to get this done,’ the Journal reported.
“Chahal originally faced 45 felony charges but ended the case by pleading guilty to two misdemeanor charges after a judge tossed out security camera footage of the incident as inadmissible. The company board later fired Chahal.”
Westly defended himself after the story broke, saying “I stand by my record on women’s issues and take the issue of domestic violence particularly seriously.”
And of course Obama recently declared himself a feminist, writing in Glamour magazine that “It is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too. And as spouses and partners and boyfriends, we need to work hard and be deliberate about creating truly equal relationships.”
Such sentiments didn’t stop him from visiting the home of a man who helped get a particularly vicious batterer off with a slap on the wrist and walking away with wads of cash stuffed in his pockets.
Meryl Streep no doubt would applaud.
Joe Schaeffer is a freelance writer based in Florida.