Roman Polanski has used a leading French lifestyle magazine to blame the media for “trying to make me into a monster” after new rape allegations against the Polish-French, Paris-based director have reignited the controversy around him.
In an interview published Wednesday in top weekly Paris Match, Polanski, also partly blamed Harvey Weinstein for his woes, charging that the disgraced producer tried to brand him as a “child rapist” to prevent him from winning an Oscar in 2003 for The Pianist.
The director, who fled the United States in 1978 after being charged with statutory rape of a 13-year-old and has not returned since, lashed out at the press when asked how he felt about his effective exile from the global center of film production.
“For years [the media has] has been trying to make me into a monster,” he said, adding that his wife and children “are suffering enormously. They are insulted and threatened on social media.”
Polanski, who has spent much of the past 42 years dogged by the controversy surrounding the statutory rape charges, also dismissed recent rape allegations by French photographer Valentine Monnier as “absurd.”
Monnier’s allegations, which predate the U.S. case against Polanski, date back to 1975 when Monnier, then an 18-year-old actress and model, claims Polanski beat and raped her at his Swiss chalet.
The allegations coincided with the release of Polanski’s new feature An Officer and a Gentleman, sparking outrage and protests that forced the cancellation of some French screenings of the film.
The film is Polanski’s take on a notorious late 19th century French military miscarriage of justice case that was heavily laced with anti-Semitism.
In the Paris Match interview, Polanski flatly denied Monnier’s allegations, telling the magazine: “I have no memory of it because it is false,” adding, “I do not hit women.”
After dismissing those allegations Polanski turned to Weinstein, claiming the former mogul resurrected the story of the U.S. statutory rape case after the success of The Pianist at London’s BAFTA awards put it on course for three Oscars, including best director, at the 2003 Academy Awards.
Polanski claimed that Weinstein started rumors against him in order to push his own film, Chicago, which went on to win six Oscars, including best picture.
“It was he who dug up my case with Samantha Geimer from 26 years earlier, which at the time no one was interested in,” Polanski told Paris Match.
“It was his press agent who first called me a ‘child rapist,'” Polanski added.