‘Hollyweird’ Comes to Defense of Pedophile Rapist Polanski
By Reginald Orem
Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein called it a “so-called” crime. Actress Whoopi Goldberg says she knows it wasn’t “rape rape.” It was something else, but not “rape rape.”
French celebrity intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy says perhaps the individual has committed a “youthful error.” Who were they talking about and what had be done? In 1977 film director Roman Polanski, then 43, lured a 13-year-old ninth grader to a house borrowed from actor Jack Nicholson.
Polanski plied her with champagne, drugged her with Quaalude (a strong depressant) photographed her naked in a hot tub, then turned on her.
Ignoring her frightened pleas, he raped and sodomized her. The assault included oral sex. A transcript of the victim’s testimony before a grand jury is now available for anyone to see.
Found guilty of the rape charge, Polanski fled the United States in 1978 to France prior to sentencing. For over 30 years he lived a life of “gilded luxury” as Washington Post writer Eugene Robinson put it, traveling to Israel and other countries.
Flouting American authorities once too often, he was finally nabbed in Zurich, Switzerland and jailed to await extradition to the U.S. One wonders if perhaps this cocky, strutting little Euro-swinger has lost some of his swagger.
His arrest has caused a tidal wave of dismay and fury by the shocked international glitterati. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouhner described the arrest as “sinister.” Culture Minister Frederic Mitterand labels America as “scary.”
In this country, the outrage over Polanski’s capture was predictably vitriolic Hollywood. How dare the “great artist” be held in any way accountable for his moral and criminal transgressions?
Harvey Weinstein circulated a 100-name pro-Polanski petition, and proclaimed “Hollywood has the best moral compass.”
Terry Teachout, writing in the Wall Street Journal, disagrees. “The rush to support Polanski shows how isolated the entertainment industry is from the rest of the world.”
He dismisses Weinstein as a “moral idiot.” Katha Pollitt, writing in Nation magazine opines:
“The widespread support for Polanski shows the liberal cultural elite at its preening, fatuous worst. No wonder Middle America hates them.”
In “Hollywood Shows Its True Colors,” Rich Lowry sums up the Tinseltown ethic: “Rarely has a class of people mustered a more damning indictment of its own putrid decadence.”
Jeff Berg, Polanski’s agent, says Roman is “now in a fighting mood,” and will of course, fight extradition to the U.S. However, legal experts say there is little to fight.
“This is the rape and sodomization of a 13-year-old child—someone who admitted it and skipped out,” says Carol Chase, law professor at Pepperdine University. Polanski, now 76, has added well-known Washington power lawyer Reid Weingarten to his legal team. Weingarten is a close friend and associate of Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr.
Polanski’s team, we are told, intends to push hard on the Washington end of the case. A rising tide of popular opinion has turned against Polanski worldwide. For example, an online question in the French daily Le Firago showed that more than 70 percent of almost 30,000 respondents said he should face justice for his heinous crimes.
In the United States, there is now an overwhelming call for justice—too long delayed—in the case. The Wall Street Journal declares that it’s time for Polanski to come home to Hollywood—voluntarily or not—and pay the price for what he did. Even the liberal Washington Post, in editorials, targets his “sordid crime” and “his cowardice in evading justice.”
Does Polanski show any genuine remorse? In an interview with novelist Martin Amis, Polanski seemed to blame others for his plight. He spoke of not having killed anybody but of having sex with young girls, which has so much appeal to the press.
“Judges want to [have sex with] young girls,” Polanski said. “Jurors want to [have sex with] young girls. Everybody wants to [have sex with] young girls.” [Editor’s note: An Anglo-Saxon vulgarity has been replaced with more neutral words in the brackets.]
In sum, Hollywood with its values of greed, corruption and worse, are out of touch with those of Middle America.
Meanwhile, the Polanski scandal has taken on a life of its own. Having been deemed a high flight risk, his bid for house arrest in his ski chalet was refused and he now “festers in a Swiss jail,” according to the New York Post.
There, his attorney, Herve Temime, told reporters that his client is “depressed,” and in an “unsettled state of mind.”
In a bizarre twist to the case, it has been disclosed that French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterand, nephew of the late Socialist President Francois Mitterand, has problems of his own. The minister rushed to the defense of Polanski’s deeds, only to have it revealed that in his autobiography of 2005 Mitterand admitted paying for sex “with boys” in Bangkok brothels.
He defended himself on French national television, saying he does not intend to resign, despite calls for him to step down. A spokesman said President Sarkozy had decided to let the culture minister defend himself.
In an editorial, the Washington Jewish Week says: “It is fitting that Polanski’s arrest took place during the Yomim Noraim [Jewish High Holy Days], the days of awe. They are a time when we reflect on our lives and seek forgiveness from God. It is a time for teshuvah, repentance. Teshuvah sometimes follows contemplation brought on by spending time in prison.”
We await teshuvah from Polanski.
Reginald Orem is a freelance writer based in Maryland.
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(Issue # 44, November 2, 2009)