The last few days I have been sitting around in disbelief, wondering if the world has gone mad – or at least many members of the artistic community. Leave it to our arty elites to seek to defend the indefensible. I refer of course to the Roman Polanski case, and how so many of our cultured bigwigs are seeking to turn him into some sort of noble martyr.
Sorry, but in my book the filmmaker is a low-life scumbag. Any 44-year-old man who plies a 13-year-old girl with drugs and alcohol, and then rapes her, is a stinking pervert and paedophile. He deserves no victim status or hero-worship. He deserves a long stint in prison.
He of course admitted his guilt back in 1977, but then fled America, and has been residing in Europe ever since. A few days ago he was detained by police while in Switzerland, and the US wants to bring him back to face the music. But our arty-farty types are all in a lather, actually defending this sleazeball.
Over 100 people have already signed their names to a petition demanding his immediate release from the Swiss jail. These include Woody Allen, Monica Bellucci, Martin Scorsese, Debra Winger, Terry Gilliam, and David Lynch. Incredibly, it seems the film community wants to turn this guy into some sort of hero.
Consider the remarks of one Hollywood left-trendy type. Whoopi Goldberg, speaking on a US debate show, actually defended the man, saying what he did really wasn’t rape. This is what she said: “It was something else but I don’t believe it was rape-rape. He went to jail and when they let him out he was like, ‘This guy’s going to give me 100 years. I’m not staying.’ We’re a different kind of society, we see things differently. Would I want my 14 year old having sex? Not necessarily, no.”
Not necessarily? Aren’t you sure Whoopi? And what is different about things today from thirty years ago? Does the mere passage of time mean that rape is no longer rape? Sorry, but I sure don’t see things differently. Then again, I am not an amoral Hollywood celeb – you know, those folk who seem to think they somehow transcend the law and mere morality.
At least I am not the only person who feels this way. For example, another member of the debating show, Sherri Shepherd, told Whoopi that this guy is a rapist, end of story. And so what if Polanski is getting on a bit in years? She rightly replied, “We hunt down 75 year old Nazis. We must protect our children.”
And today another voice of reason appeared, this time from Miranda Devine, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald. She got things right in her opening sentence: “How sickening is the chorus of sycophants and enablers defending Roman Polanski, the 76-year-old Polish director arrested at a Zurich film festival over a three decade-old statutory rape case.”
She provides more background to the case: “According to the girl’s sworn testimony before a grand jury two weeks [after the attack], he lured her to the house with the promise of photographing her for French Vogue and plied her with champagne and Quaalude before attacking her, despite her repeated requests for him to stop. He pleaded guilty to statutory rape – having sex with a minor – before fleeing the country.”
She continues, “I have not included the most graphic parts of her testimony, published on the Smoking Gun website. Polanski’s victim, Samantha Geimer, now 45, sued him years later and won a civil settlement. She has said she does not want him pursued further because she doesn’t want the trauma of more legal proceedings and media interest.
“Polanski’s defenders make much of this, as if justice depended only on the attitude of the victim. They say he has been punished enough, that he suffered as a child of the Holocaust, or that the murder of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, by the Manson Family caused him grief. But bad people can have tragedies befall them. Bad people can be talented. It doesn’t make them good.
“Polanski was a sexual predator. Who cares if it was three decades ago? Who cares if his wife was butchered? Who cares if the victim has grown up and absolved him? None of that is the point. If he were a Catholic priest arrested for child sex abuse 30 years ago there would be no pleas for leniency, nor should there be.
“Polanski’s defenders complain those who think he should face justice are ‘shrill’. But the shrillness is from them. It is the same tone we heard from the defenders of Bill Henson’s right to photograph nude 13-year-olds, who branded those opposed to exploiting naked pubescent children as philistines gripped by ‘moral panic’. In this cowardly age, cultivated people seem terrified of being seen as unsophisticated on such matters.”
Quite so. It seems that many in the artistic community somehow believe they are above the law and above concerns about right and wrong which us mere mortals must observe. I don’t care how many Oscars this guy has received. He is a scuzzy rapist who deserves punishment. And the sooner the better.