Don’t waste your tears on Roman Polanski

Posted on September 29, 2009



The arrest of fugitive director Roman Polanski in Switzerland has sent shock waves of righteous indignation throughout the Hollywood community. The capsule version of Polanski’s sin is this: in 1977, he plied a 13-year-old girl with alcohol and drugs before raping her. After a plea agreement in which the charges of sodomy and rape were dropped, Polanski pled guilty to statutory rape before fleeing to France where he has remained since, ever fearful of extradition but still directing films and living fairly comfortably.

I must have missed the memo that mandated the wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding Polanski’s recent capture, but numerous celebrities have received it and acted on it. Whoopi Goldberg defended Polanski on The View saying he didn’t commit “rape-rape” (just statutory rape, don’t you know), and he’s attracted the support of people like Harvey Weinstein and the French culture minister. Meanwhile, a petition with more than 100 signatories including Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann and Woody Allen has surfaced that defends Polanski and protests his arrest.

Yes, it can be said that his victim, now 44, has forgiven him and wished for the whole ordeal to go away. But here’s the thing – in my opinion such an act is one of moving forward personally from trauma than one of absolution for the perpetrator. If the family of the victim of a murderer forgave him, would we set him free? The feelings of the players involved doesn’t negate the act committed or the admission of guilt by Polanski.

It’s ridiculous to me to raise such ire over a man who, in essence, is a child molester. Ah, but he’s such a great artist, a visionary director! Then let cinematic history judge his films, and let American justice judge his crimes. One’s artistic proclivities or abilities, despite what the intelligentsia believe, doesn’t make one more superior than the rest of the vast unwashed masses and thus above the laws for mere mortal men. Yet the same crowd so willing to look the other way for one of their own will feel no qualm about lecturing us on morality and social issues, a hypocrisy so stunning that it demolishes any shred of credibility for an artistic community that claims to stand up for victims.

The more Hollywood moans about Polanski, the more it’s obvious how out of touch they are with common sense and the basic decency that is shared by those less enlightened then they. As for me, I’ll shed no tears for Roman Polanski and shake my head at those that will.

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