From the Department of I Never Thought I'd Agree With ...
But AFAIC, she's right on this one -- or at least a hell of a lot closer to right about what you should do with a guy who drugs, rapes and sodomizes a 13-year-old kid than nearly any other Villager (or media / entertainment / political 'star') voice I've heard on this subject.
Remember, Polanski not only gave the kid liquor and Quaalude, he admitted it.
Luc Besson, director of Léon, refused to sign a Hollywood petition calling for Polanski's immediate release.
"There is one justice, and that should be the same for everyone," Besson said on French radio. "I have a daughter, 13 years old. If she was violated, nothing would be the same, even 30 years later."
Popular support in France for Polanski, who has lived in Paris as a fugitive ever since the episode, has quickly waned - if it was ever there at all. More than 70 per cent of the 30,000 participants in an online poll by Le Figaro believed that Polanski should be extradited to face justice.
Four hundred readers of the French magazine Le Point have written to condemn Polanski and the French celebrities who back him, dismissing them as the "crypto-intelligentsia of our country" who deliver "eloquent phrases that defy common sense".
The Swiss say they wouldn't have let him go so long if they'd known. That's a little specious -- he owned a chalet there, and presumably had to show a passport upon visiting. But they did nail him, finally -- and publicly. If it's their idea of tit-for-tat over UBS ... I'm okay with that. Hell, I'd give 'em Phil Gramm in zip-tie handcuffs, if only I could.
Posted by Patrick Cusworth at 11:37am on October 1, 2009
whipnchill - I think you'll find that Fromme walks the streets now AFTER being sentenced and serving 34 years in prison. Maybe Polanski would be free now too if he had turned up to court and not fled the country. Like the veteran who thwarted Fromme, it's a shame that Polanski's now 43 year old victim has to suffer the media glare. I'm sure she would also have liked to put this behind her many years ago. She can't because of you. Don't blame the media. It's your fault. And could someone please tell me what Whoopi Goldberg means by rape-rape and how this differs from normal, everyday, it doesn't matter, it's just one of those things rape.
Posted by Steve Salmon at 1:35pm on October 1, 2009
Thank God that the majority of people are living in the real world. If for once we could see that just because because a person is famous they could not walk away but instead have to suffer the consequences of their actions it would be wonderful. "But he's artistic" his supporters say. Well to my mind the luring to an empty house of a 13 year old girl. The drugging and subsequent rape and sodomy of that 13 year old, and just remember what those words mean, seems far from artistic to me. Now of course he wants bail. Well, we saw how he honoured that last time. But of course if Whoopi Goldberg says he must go free then we must get right on it
Posted by Robin Glover at 5:31pm on October 1, 2009
@Steve--re: Whoopi--she now claims she was referring to the charge brought against Polanski, rather than the crime he committed. In this narrow sense, she was correct: he was charged with something like "unlawful intercourse with a minor" (a lesser charge) rather than "rape." Goldberg also states that she is not a supporter of Polanski. I haven't seen the full video, but if Goldberg's clarification holds up, then it was an exceedingly poor, but forgivable, word choice issue. Having looked at some of the grand jury testimony, it would seem to me (not a lawyer) that the more severe "rape rape" charge would be justified, especially when you consider that he was a serial pedophile. For Goldberg's sake, I hope this was the point she was trying to make as well.
Auteur my shiny white fanny. He's a self-confessed (maybe braggart) paedophile and a rapist, and he damned well ought to pay the price for the crimes he admitted committing. Even at the time, what he did brought him under scrutiny as a Mentally Disturbed Sex Offender (this was back in the days when Boy Scout handbooks referred to autistic kids as morons, remember), not just a rapist.
Don't start with the "but his victim forgave him" bullshit, either. His victim was a child, and she understandably did not want to remember in detail in court what had happened, under cross-examination by hostile lawyers he could afford. She's moved on and built a life while this scumbag continued his self-love-affair career, and she deserves some peace and quiet. Furthermore, if he reneged on his plea bargain, who knows what, if anything, he actually paid that didn't go to lawyers instead of the victim?
Polanski, on the other hand, not just because he's a child rapist but because he's a scumbag of the first water with a 30-plus-year career as an unrepentant rapist flaunting his misogyny, deserves an appointment with prosecution.
"Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time," Weinstein wrote.
But such comments don't sit well with advocates of sexual abuse victims, who think Polanski's supporters in their zeal to free Polanski are sending the wrong message and downplaying the seriousness of the crime.
"Most troubling to me is that people just don’t understand the impact a crime like this has on a 13-year-old girl, and the fact that he has made some fabulous films is utterly irrelevant," said Katie Buckland, executive director of the California Women's Law Center. "It sends a message that the rich and powerful can get away with crimes that no one else can get away with."
The Polanski case has generated much debate about why prosecutors acted now. It's complicated somewhat by the fact that his victim, now in her 40s, has publicly said she believe he should not face prison time and that the matter should be dropped.
But Buckland said it is irrelevant that the victim did not want to press the case -- and that prosecutors should be praised for sticking with the case.
David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said he hears echos of "Polanski's apologists" in the scandal over child abuse in the Roman Catholic priests.
"In both cases we have the public and secular authorities giving every benefit of the doubt to clear wrongdoers just by virtue of their exalted positions. You could easily say if Polanski was a priest, he would be easily jailed," Clohessy said. "Somehow if you can make movies, dance well, shoot a basketball, essentially accumulate wealth or power and then you are somehow exempt from the basic societal laws and expectations. By not pursuing Polanski, we send a very disturbing message to criminals. Make yourself popular, get good lawyers, flee the country and you are home free."
My sense of justice isn't highly refined enough to qualify as "sophisticate." I think this jerk ought to spend the rest of his (highly un) natural life in solitary at the very least. He's enjoyed the last 31 years, after all, as an avant-garde darling of the haute. The girl he raped? Not so much.
Furthermore, as a redneck Texan from flyover country: Roman Polanski's films suck, and the 'defenders' are no more admirable -- remember when Debra Winger played the barhopping semi-whore in "Urban Cowboy" and then famously got herself photographed tongue-kissing her German Shepherd? (Poor dog).
One celebrity supporter, the actress Debra Winger, said it was a "three-decades-old case that is dead but for minor technicalities. We stand by him and await his release and his next masterpiece." Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein said Polanski was a "humanist" who had been the victim of a "miscarriage of justice". He said: "We will have to speak to our leaders, particularly in California. I'm not too shy to go and talk to the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and to ask him once and for all to look at this." However, the views of the Hollywood elite seemed out of step with those of ordinary Americans and they now face a backlash.
On the Los Angeles Times website only one in 30 comments from members of the public supported Polanski and most called for him to face justice.
Katie Buckland, executive director of the California Women's Law Center, said supporting Polanski's release "sends a message that the rich and powerful can get away with crimes that no one else can get away with."
Asked if the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, which is seeking Polanski's extradition, would bow to Hollywood pressure, its spokeswoman Jane Robison said simply: "No."
She said attempts to extradite Polanski would continue and there were no plans to meet with the Hollywood stars backing Polanski.