Archive for October 1st, 2009

On Polanski

From Kate Harding at Salon.com:

The point is that drugging and raping a child, then leaving the country before you can be sentenced for it, is behavior our society should not — and at least in theory, does not — tolerate, no matter how famous, wealthy or well-connected you are, no matter how old you were when you finally got caught, no matter what your victim says about it now, no matter how mature she looked at 13, no matter how pushy her mother was, and no matter how many really swell movies you’ve made.

Harding’s piece is excellent.   Two thumbs up.

Polanski drugged and raped a thirteen year old girl.   I keep seeing people saying Polanski merely had sex with an underage girl.   That’s the charge that Polanski entered a guilty plea for, but it leaves a lot of pertinent information out.   Sex implies consent.   This young woman was unwilling and did not consent.  She had a right to autonomy over her own body, a right Polanski violated.  

Roman Polanski had horrific things happen to him, but this does not excuse his rape of a child.   There are allegations of misconduct by the judge and prosecutor in the case.   I find it odd that Polanski was willing to submit to the legal system when it benefitted him, but when the judge threatened to throw out his plea bargain, something afforded to a judge under the legal system, Polanski turned tail and ran.  I find this even more odd considering that there are legal options open to defendants who suspect misconduct among attorneys and judges in cases, something a lawyer who would be hired by Polanski – that is, a lawyer worth his salt and then some – should have been able to navigate with ease.   Never mind that before he fled the country, Polanski was informed that the judge could reject the plea deal and potentially deport him if the judge saw fit.   (You can read the hearing transcript over at The Smoking Gun.)

Roman Polanski hid out in Europe for years, filming in countries that would not extradite him, evading arrest even after he was placed on Interpol wanted lists.   He was well aware of his fugitive status and continued to openly evade extradition, even though US officials were trying to arrest him.

If this were not Roman Polanski, would we even be having this discussion?   I am not asking for Roman Polanski’s head on a platter.   I’m not saying we should have him strung up in Mussolini-esque fashion.   I’m truly puzzled by the fact that there are people out there not only in the film community but in the “real world” who believe that Polanski should maybe come back to the US and receive sentencing for a crime he pled guilty to and bear responsibility for his actions in fleeing the United States.

If I may float a few points:

Genius does not preclude responsibility of a citizen to be held accountable for their actions.

Genius does not permit one to harm others.

A victim of terrible crimes can also become a victimizer.

And Roman Polanski does not get a pass for refusing to play by the rules in a venue where he was already getting breaks simply because he’s made some genius films.

Geniuses are not exempt from being equal under the law.

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