What's the difference between disgraced cinematic icons Mel Gibson and Roman Polanski? That's the question raised by AOL Surge Desk contributor Paul Wachter. His conclusion? Not much, save for the way Hollywood's treating them. Wachter isn't looking to justify the Gibson tapes, with their confusing fusion of arson, rape and racial slurs. But he humbly offers that raping a 13-year-old might be worse:

Rape is a crime. Being a racist is not. That's not a case for letting Gibson off the hook -- by all means blacklist racists -- but an indictment of Hollywood's hypocrisy.
Gibson was dropped as a client by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment last week. Polanski, a fugitive since fleeing Los Angeles in 1977, received 138 celebrity signatures on a petition protesting his pending extradition from Switzerland, and was released from custody last week.