ONTD Political

Repulsion: Polanski's horror story

9:30 am - 10/01/2009
Warning: This might be triggery, as it has details of the abuse.

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.

Polanski has been a fugitive from US justice since he skipped bail after being charged over the rape and sodomy of a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson's Los Angeles home in 1977.

According to the girl's sworn testimony before a grand jury two weeks later, 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.

Now that justice has, belatedly, come calling, we are treated to all manner of sophistry employed by politicians, commentators and celebrities and France's "cultural elite" to justify Polanski's crime.

We've had Woody Allen, of all people, other famous film directors and actresses signing a petition demanding "the immediate release of Roman Polanski''. The actress Debra Winger, the president of the film event, described the arrest as "philistine".

In France, where Polanski has lived for 30 years, the Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, described his arrest as "sinister" and the Culture Minister, Frederic Mitterrand, said: "In the same way that there is a generous America that we like, there is also a scary America that has just shown its face.''

Back in the land of the casting couch, the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein issued a statement: "Whatever you think of the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time.''

When a 43-year-old grooms a 13-year-old girl for sex it is an actual crime, not a "so-called crime".

But even feminists couldn't see a problem. Whoopi Goldberg said on television what Polanski did "wasn't rape-rape".

Joan Shore, the co-founder of Women Overseas for Equality, wrote on The Huffington Post: "The 13-year old model 'seduced' by Polanski had been thrust onto him by her mother, who wanted her in the movies.'' She had met Polanski once and was "utterly charmed by Roman's sobriety and intelligence".

The Sydney pedophile Phillip Bell was also described as charming. Charm is one of the hallmarks of men who groom children for sex. They have to be plausible enough to convince other adults responsible for protecting children they are harmless.

The emptiness of Polanski's defenders is revealed in the transcript of his victim's testimony. Polanski had her mother's permission to photograph her and it was the third time he had done so. He gave her champagne and part of a Quaalude before convincing her to undress and step into a jacuzzi for a photograph. He undressed and got in, telling her to join him in the deep end.

She said: "No. No I got to get out.' And he goes, 'No, come down here'. And then I said I had asthma and that I couldn't. I had to get out because of the warm air and the cold air or something like that."

She told the jury she feigned asthma, "because I wanted to get out".

When she went inside he followed her. She pretended she needed to go home for her medicine. He kissed her.

"And I was telling him 'No', you know. 'Keep away'. But I was kind of afraid of him because there was no one else there.

"And then he went down and he started performing cuddliness."

When she was asked what that meant she described him performing oral sex on her. ''I was ready to cry. I was kind of … I was going. 'No. Come on. Stop it.' But I was afraid.''

She describes how the alcohol and Quaalude had affected her. "I was kind of dizzy, you know. I was having trouble with my co-ordination like walking and stuff.''

Then Polanski had sexual intercourse with her. "I was mostly just on and off saying 'No, stop'.

"But I wasn't fighting really because there was no one else there and I had no place to go."

He asked if she was on the Pill. She said she wasn't.

He said, "Would you like me to go in through your back. And I went no'.'' Then he sodomised her.

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.

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onelittlesleep 30th-Sep-2009 11:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this! The whole thing has been incredibly horrifying. I am disgusted that the opposition to the Free Polanski petition has been written-off as 'philistine'! I imagine they're thinking anyone against freeing Polanski is just an overreactive, right-wing nutjob.

To give face to the opposition, I started this: http://notonhollywood.blogspot.com/2009/09/dear-pedro-almodovar.html

I'd love to hear more people speak up, from the artist community, and just...ACKNOWLEDGE that YES, art is IMPORTANT. But children and convicting rapists is MORE important.
ladypeyton 1st-Oct-2009 08:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you for that link.
bay_bus_rider 30th-Sep-2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
"And then he went down and he started performing cuddliness."

Oh god, that one detail is just heartbreaking.
friskykitten64 1st-Oct-2009 12:08 am (UTC)
That's what got to me too. :/
x_amm0_x 30th-Sep-2009 11:45 pm (UTC)
I completely agree! I don't care what he did, he committed a heinous crime and is not above the law because he made epic movies (or whatever he did).
mycophobia 30th-Sep-2009 11:49 pm (UTC)
winniechili 30th-Sep-2009 11:48 pm (UTC)
I don't think you can call Whoopi a feminist, she has some seriously fucked up views regarding victims/attackers/criminals (see: Chris Brown and Michael Vick).
ms_maree 30th-Sep-2009 11:49 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think we can revoke her card...if she ever had one.
ladypolitik 30th-Sep-2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
"And then he went down and he started performing cuddliness."

brb...weeping bitterly.
art_house_queen 1st-Oct-2009 12:47 am (UTC)
kenobi 30th-Sep-2009 11:51 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry but this ass, regardless of celebrity-status, needs to be held accountable for his actions. He does *NOT* get to rape a THIRTEEN YEAR OLD and just get waved by because he made movies.

"cuddliness" that? just breaks my heart =(
evilgmbethy 1st-Oct-2009 01:23 am (UTC)
seriously. If he were just some dude, he wouldn't be Roman the Great Director Who Has Suffered Enough, he'd be Roman the Baby-Rapin' Creep.
celtic_thistle 30th-Sep-2009 11:53 pm (UTC)
"cuddliness..." That poor, poor girl. :(

I could kick this man in the fucking nuts. Repeatedly. What a horrible excuse for a human being.
fauxparadiso 30th-Sep-2009 11:53 pm (UTC)
Well at least the French government finally reversed the call for his release.
fakeblood 30th-Sep-2009 11:59 pm (UTC)
"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."

versinae 30th-Sep-2009 11:59 pm (UTC)
He asked if she was on the Pill. She said she wasn't.

SHE'S NOT A FUCKING ADULT! Jesus fucking fuck.
pullmystrings 1st-Oct-2009 12:00 am (UTC)
everyone keeps saying people are defending him because he's famous but the main reason I keep hearing is because it was thirty years ago...although I'm sure him being famous is a part of it. if this happened to a regular person (ie they fled and are now being tried 30 years later) if it were the exact same situation with a "regular" person I still think there would be some defending, but not nearly as much. and all these famous people would definitely not be signing petitions for him to go free. what the fuck.

Edited at 2009-10-01 12:02 am (UTC)
laxrissalax 1st-Oct-2009 12:14 am (UTC)
It's not a case of being tried 30 years later. He was already tried and convicted. It's a matter of serving his time finally.
mouseling 1st-Oct-2009 12:05 am (UTC)
The "cuddliness" part... god, I can't even.
shirozora 1st-Oct-2009 12:05 am (UTC)
"Whatever you think of the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time."

...well, there goes my faith in humanity.
pullmystrings 1st-Oct-2009 12:17 am (UTC)
and whoopi saying it's not 'rape-rape'.
gretchystretchy 1st-Oct-2009 12:13 am (UTC)
So-called crime? SO-CALLED CRIME?!

Also, I first read Harvey Weinstein as Harvey Fierstein and nearly cried.
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