This op-ed assumes you know that: Roman Polanski was convicted of “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor” in ’78, in which he admitted plying a 13-year-old full of Quaaludes & booze with the intent of having sex with her in every manner possible. He pled guilty, public opinion came against the law who were going to let him off with a lenient punishment, and he fled to France, where he has lived pretty much ever since, enjoying their non-extradition policies. Upon showing up in Switzerland to collect a lifetime achievement award recently, he was finally arrested and will face sentencing for the conviction he’s been on the run from for 31 years.
I love the sense of ironic humour in how Roman Polanski was arrested for his 1977 rape at long last — he shows up to collect a lifelong achievement award, and the cuffs get slapped on. Beautiful. A crime he’s spent 30+ years evading, he’s finally going to be held accountable for. It’s existential poetry. Justice comes at last.
The reaction on the Polanski thing baffles me. Many in the public — probably because they actually KNOW the one in four people who’ve likely been raped — seem elated Polanski’s going to receive sentence for a crime he was long ago convicted for. Hollywood seems to be rallying behind their chosen director-boy.
Like Whoopi Goldberg on The View. Whoopi, in her infinite hit-the-nail-on-the-head articulate genius, said: “I know it wasn’t rape-rape. I think it was something else, but I don’t believe it was rape-rape.”
So, Polanski isn’t guilty of “rape-rape”, just, you know, not-very-nice sex. Maybe he should have sent more flowers.
Apparently, if you make REALLY good art, you’re not a “bad” person, because how can your aesthetic vision be so skookum-good when your intrinsic values are so fucking heinous?
Roman Polanski, in 1978, got the fuck out of Dodge because he realized that, hey, stuffing a 13-year-old full of Quaaludes and booze, then stuffing his cock into her teeny vagina and ass, and getting oral sex coming-and-going wasn’t gonna fly in America, even if the Sexual Revolution was still going pretty strong.
Like the sick coward he is, as soon as his easy deal looked like it might be in jeopardy, after the public began reacting to the soft punishment he was getting for a plea deal, he ran. He basically admitted his guilt to the harsher charges. You don’t live abroad for 30 years because you have a difference of opinion with the border guards, okay? You fight it, and you fight it publicly. When you’re guilty, you shut the fuck up and find ways to stay out of the wrong hands.
I’d like to applaud Switzerland for doing what Canada failed to do in 1986 — helping American authorities in finally making the pursuit of justice viable in this case.
Apparently the victim wants the charges dropped. Why, because she thinks he’s paid his price? Or because Hollywood has indicted her for the last 30 years over the fate of its Golden Child director, the man who reinvented horrors with Rosemary’s Baby and tore up the screen with the ever-brilliant Chinatown? Or because Polanski paid her to shut the hell up?
And why is Hollywood so dismissive of this bullshit? Because the guy knows how to put a film together? Because illicit sex defines Hollywood? Because any female who goes into modelling or acting after the age of 13 was (and is) often EXPECTED to put out in order to be successful?
But it’s time that we ignore what victims want in cases with rich, intimidating, powerful defendants. When they “drop” the charges or don’t wish to file, yet it’s something like this crime here, I think we need to stand back and go, “No, it’s NOT cool that this happens on our watch. 13-year-old girls aren’t old enough to consent when filled with Quaaludes and alcohol. Anyone in his 30s and beyond should know this.” After all, we all know it’s just defendants paying victims to make charges go away. Who’s kidding who?
That aside — what makes a girl, just because she works as an actress or model at the age of 13, somehow more VIABLE as a fucking vehicle? Why is SHE okay to manipulate into sex and a grade 8 field hockey player isn’t? It’s not right. All our children deserve to be protected, and if their innocence vanishes too young through no fault of their own, we still have to protect them.
Polanski is a rape-rapist. He’s a powerful man, a fantastic director, and a rape-rapist. He deserves to pay for his crimes that he was found GUILTY of instead of being a glamourous posterboy for How To Rape A Child And Live An Exotic Life on the Lam While Being Praised Worldwide for Being a Genius.
If ANYONE deserves to pay for his crimes decades after the fact, it’s anyone who makes rape look cool.
I don’t even know what kind of a sentence I want imposed on the fucker. I might even be happy with a token 9-18 months. I just want to know he’s paying a price beyond having had to live the horrible life of an exile in the — gulp — savagery of France. All that stinky cheese and horrible wine, I just don’t know how he could do it. Jail will be a cakewalk in comparison, I’m sure.
If ever there was an instance in which the law asserted that, no, money and glamour do NOT get you off the hook in crimes, a jail sentence in the Polanski case would be the way to prove it.