Yesterday, my colleague Julie discussed Roman Polanski’s recent re-arrest, and how it hasn’t fazed the Hollywood elite much (if at all.)

Today, the Los Angeles Times looks at the psychology behind this industry exceptionalism, from the culture of currying favor with powerful studio heads to the mindset of “protecting one’s own.”

Producer Harvey Weinstein, who is currently circulating a petition defending Polanski, dismisses charges that the film industry is amoral: “‘Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion,’ Weinstein said. ‘We were the people who did the fundraising telethon for the victims of 9/11. We were there for the victims of Katrina and any world catastrophe.'”

News flash, Harvey: giving money to hurricane victims doesn’t give you a moral “get out of jail free” card. Drugging a 13-year-old is a crime. Raping her is a crime. Fleeing the country is a crime. Period.

The article also has a sickening quote from Peg Yorkin, founder of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “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. The government could spend its money on other things.”

On its website, the Feminist Majority Foundation asserts that its “research and action programs focus on advancing the legal, social and political equality of women with men, countering the backlash to women’s advancement, and recruiting and training young feminists to encourage future leadership for the feminist movement in the United States.”

Defending a plea-bargained rapist might not be the best way to advance those goals, eh?

The Washington Post‘s Eugene Robinson sums up the case neatly:

This isn’t about a genius who is being hounded for flouting society’s hidebound conventions. It’s about a rich and powerful man who used his fame and position to assault — in every sense, to violate — an innocent child.

And it’s about a man who ran away rather than face the consequences of his actions. Before any sentence could be imposed, he absconded like a weasel to live a princely life in France.

I couldn’t agree more.