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Child Rape Is Okay if You're Roman Polanski

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If Roman Polanski hadn't made a bunch of excellent movies and won an Oscar, would we be up in arms about a fugitive being brought to justice after three decades on the run? No, he'd be on America's Most Wanted.

roman polanski

Ronda Kaysen: If I have to hear one more person bemoan the justice system because Roman Polanski finally got arrested for pleading guilty to child rape and skipping town before sentencing, I'll scream.

So what if the guy makes really good movies? He raped a 13-year-old girl. It doesn't matter that the victim has come forward and said she no longer wants to see him prosecuted because she's tired of the media circus. She did not say, mind you, that she thinks he's innocent. She would just like to stop hearing about the time a famous director drugged, raped, and sodomized her 31 years ago.

In an op-ed in today's New York Times, the writer Robert Harris feels "desperately sorry" for Polanski. He pronounces the victim "the one person who comes out of this affair with her dignity enhanced" because, presumably, she wants his buddy to get off the hook.

Harris laments the terrible misfortune of his friend who has dined with French presidents and owned homes in Switzerland (things, I guess, that make it okay to rape a child). He's outraged at people who want to discuss the details of Polanski's crime, for which he has yet to serve time. "The almost pornographic relish with which his critics are retelling the lurid details of the assault (strange behavior, one might think, for those who profess concern for the victim) makes it hard to consider the case rationally."

Wait a minute here. Not only are we supposed to shrug our shoulders and let Polanski walk away from a guilty plea, but we aren't supposed to discuss the merits of his conviction, either? I don't care that Harris shared family vacations with Polanski or that their daughters are BFFs. It doesn't matter that Polanski won an Oscar or traveled all over the world and avoided extradition. He pled guilty to child rape. Anyone with less means and connections would have gone to jail a long time ago for that.

It's not just Harris who's horrified that a guy who pled guilty to raping a kid might one day go to jail. "This is for me a shock. I am ashamed to be Swiss, that the Swiss [are] doing such a thing to a brilliant fantastic genius, that millions and millions of people love his work," the Swiss filmmaker Otto Weisser said. "He's a brilliant guy, and he made a little mistake 32 years ago. What a shame for Switzerland."

I guess only stupid people who plead guilty to raping kids should go to jail. Brilliant ones should pick up their lifetime achievement awards in Switzerland.

The outrage that a government would seek to extradite a child rapist isn't reserved for the film industry. It's not just Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Pedro Almodóvar, and Wim Wenders who are furiously writing letters on Polanski's behalf. Jack Lang, a former French culture minister, called it "judicial lynching." And his successor, Frédéric Mitterrand, called the news "absolutely horrifying."

Let's all stop and take a deep breath here. According to grand jury testimony, Roman Polanski doped a 13-year-old child with champagne and quaaludes and then forced her to have oral, vaginal, and anal sex with him, even as she repeatedly said no. That's rape, am I right? And he pled guilty. But when it became clear that he might have to do a little time for raping a kid, he skipped town. If he hadn't made a bunch of excellent movies and won an Oscar, would we be up in arms about a fugitive being brought to justice after three decades on the run? No, he'd be on America's Most Wanted.

Kate Harding totally gets it. "Roman Polanski raped a child. And rushing past that point to focus on the reasons why we should forgive him, pity him, respect him, admire him, support him, whatever, is absolutely twisted," she wrote on Salon's Broadsheet yesterday.

What I take from all this international outrage is that the only rapists that Hollywood and French culture ministers care about putting away are the ones who aren't rich, internationally famous celebrities who make really good movies. If he made bad movies, would the world care so much?

No one can deny that Polanski has had a difficult life, and terrible, horrible things have befallen him -- the murder of his second wife, Sharon Tate, when she was eight months pregnant, by the Manson Family; the murder of his mother at Auschwitz; his survival in the Warsaw Ghetto. But does all that make it okay for the guy to drug and rape a little girl? No.

Justice is supposed to be blind. She's supposed to look beyond someone's social status and the number of homes he owns and how many film festivals he has been to and do what is just. By letting Polanski off the hook, we're saying that it's okay to rape a child and flee the country to avoid prison time if you're famous, well-connected, and make great movies.

next: My Problems Grew with My Kids!
37 comments so far | Post a comment now
Emily September 30, 2009, 11:21 AM

This makes me so sick! How in the world could ANYONE come to his defense?

Momof2 September 30, 2009, 11:53 AM

Totally agree. I bet the victim would not think what happened to her all those years ago was not “a little mistake”.

Marie September 30, 2009, 12:00 PM

Actually the victim has basically come out and said “leave him alone.” Melissa Gilbert was on The View the other day standing up for the guy…. she basically said — the girl asked for it and the mother said it was okay. I wanted to jump through the screen at her. First, the man had sex with a 13 year old. I don’t care if the Pope was there… it was wrong. A parent cannot give permission to allow this… What that tells me is the mother needs to be prosecuted as well. Second, the man plead GUILTY. He serverd part of his sentence then FLED. Really, the initial charges are no longer consequential. He jumped bail!!!! He needs to finish his sentence and then be punished for running…. I don’t care who he is!

Barb September 30, 2009, 12:18 PM

I totally agree—he’s slime who deserves prison.

Veronica September 30, 2009, 12:45 PM

What a pig. I read the transcripts on smokinggun and he is a real predator. I don’t think she was his only victim.

chris September 30, 2009, 12:48 PM

I heard Whoopi (also from the view) basicly said the same thing…He’s such a wonderful director…he’s brillant…it was 30 years ago…blah blah blah. This man pleaded guilty and he should do jail time. NO EXCUSES!!!

Dolores September 30, 2009, 2:48 PM

If he did that to one child, he probably did that to more. He should serve his time and donate most of his money. He didn’t deserve to make all that money!

Dolores September 30, 2009, 3:00 PM

O yah, if her mom did say it was o.k., then she should also serve time for pimping her daughter. Maybe they’ll both get it in the rear in prison. I would like to see them both behind bars. How could they live with themselves. I couldn’t think about someone doing that to my child. SEND THEM TO PRISON.

Anonymous September 30, 2009, 3:02 PM

and all you wonder why charlie was and is angry about our society

Mirna  September 30, 2009, 4:15 PM

I am literally sick of hearing all these people come to this man’s defense. He is a sick, twisted, pervert and should rot in jail. I wonder how he’d feel if someone had drugged and raped HIS children. For that matter, I wonder how his defenders would feel if their children had been preyed upon. Not to mention the fact that he ADMITTED to it. It’s not a failing of the judicial system — it’s not like there was insufficient evidence and he got convicted anyway. Unreal …

drdrew September 30, 2009, 4:25 PM

He didn’t rape a child, he had consensual sex with a minor, which is still very illegal and wrong, but let’s get this right. A child is someone who is prepubescent.

Kris September 30, 2009, 4:40 PM

Honestly, he’s SLIME. i’m not a mom, i’m 15 and he’s just plain SLIME. He needs jail time

Victim of ID theft September 30, 2009, 4:49 PM

Lock ‘em up and lose the key!

So what if he was “such a great person”, according to a bunch of others just like him(sick!)Lock ‘em up all together.
We have to think about precedence here! Future abominations that would arise from the idea that if you are “somebody” you might get away with it. Or is this another attempt to break down the legal/moral concepts that this country tried so hard at one time to enhance.
I was once a victim of similar scenario. I often wonder “how great” I would be if I hadn’t had torturous nightmares that drove me to near insanity and rebellion and screwed up my life b/c nobody cared before I realized I wasn’t going to pay the price for his crime.

He needs to pay the price for his crime so we can maintain precedence in an attempt to keep others from paying the price of such prowlers as him. Then and only then we may have a country with actual “great people” because they increased their chances of greatness by cutting off the balls of such bastards!

Anna September 30, 2009, 5:18 PM

If he gets away with this its sending the message to other that rape is okay. ITS NOT OKAY!!!! Its horrible and he should be punished!!!! I;m tired of celebrities getting off the hook for CRIMES, they should be made examples of, especially this pervert!

mnight September 30, 2009, 5:49 PM

Polanski has done his time in his being banned from the United States for 30 years. He plead guilty in a plea deal where the D.A. agreed to NO JAIL TIME. Ironically, It’s because of Polanski’s fame that the fame hungry D.A. then reneged on the plea deal which was illegal and why Polanski fled.

Why don’t you give all the facts before you start writing this garbage. And to all the people agreeing with the writer of this article, why don’t you do a little research before agreeing with half-truths you find on the internet.

Lynn September 30, 2009, 6:03 PM

The victim said “let it go.” So let it go. I agree with the fact that his movie-making and high status do not excuse him. They do not. What he did was not okay. But his VICTIM excused him. It is her opinion in this that matters, and only hers. And she has said “let it go.” It’s not about letting him “get away with it.” It’s about respecting the victim. She doesn’t want him prosecuted and never did. Let it go.

Gigohead  September 30, 2009, 6:08 PM

The man did the crime, he needs to do the time! It’s outrageous that anyone would come to this guy’s defense!!

Anna September 30, 2009, 6:13 PM

I don’t get how people can excuse “rape” even if it happened a hundred years ago—IT STILL HAPPENED PEOPLE! There’s something seriously wrong with society whenn they see Polanski’s crime as an excusable act, and then come to his defense as if he has “suffered” long enough. Puhleez…he’s not suffered a day in his life. He’s a coward, a rapist, and God only knows what else. Bottom line, he needs to serve time for what he did!

Anonymous September 30, 2009, 6:20 PM

So if a person is able to find it in thier heart to forgive someone of doing a horrible crime against them, the state should just let it go…NOT! This man plead guilty and was to do 4 months in jail and 30 years later, he should still do his time.

Anonymous September 30, 2009, 6:43 PM

I think if you put him in Jail in US, he will pay off the warden and guards, who will run around the county and fetch him striking 13 year olds. After a while, he will sure the prison for accessory and get off with 250 Mill of tax money.

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