Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Father Polanski

In 1977, a 44-year-old man plied a 13-year-old girl with drugs and alcohol and then raped and sodomized her. The man was charged with several crimes including lewd and lascivious acts upon a child under 14. The charges were dismissed when he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. When the man learned he might face imprisonment instead of probation, he fled to France, where he held citizenship and could therefore be protected from extradition to the U.S. Thirty-something years later, the man may finally do time behind bars.

If this man were a Catholic priest, a Father Polanski let's say, do you think so many celebrities would be spinning wild explanations and doublespeak in his defense? Of course not. But the real man is not a priest. He is Roman Polanski, a good-looking, talented artist! His famous friends (mostly European actors, writers, and whatever) demand that we unsophisticated Americans free Polanski out of "good sense and honor." This petition certainly is a masterpiece of arrogance:
Apprehended like a common terrorist Saturday evening, September 26, as he came to receive a prize for his entire body of work, Roman Polanski now sleeps in prison.

He risks extradition to the United States for an episode that happened years ago and whose principal plaintiff repeatedly and emphatically declares she has put it behind her and abandoned any wish for legal proceedings.

Seventy-six years old, a survivor of Nazism and of Stalinist persecutions in Poland, Roman Polanski risks spending the rest of his life in jail for deeds which would be beyond the statute-of-limitations in Europe.

We ask the Swiss courts to free him immediately and not to turn this ingenious filmmaker into a martyr of a politico-legal imbroglio that is unworthy of two democracies like Switzerland and the United States. Good sense, as well as honor, require it.

Bernard-Henri Lévy
Salman Rushdie
Milan Kundera
Pascal Bruckner
Neil Jordan
Isabelle Adjani
Arielle Dombasle
Isabelle Huppert
William Shawcross
Yamina Benguigui
Mike Nichols
Danièle Thompson
Diane von Furstenberg
Claude Lanzmann
Paul Auster
Polanski wasn't apprehended like a terrorist. He was apprehended like a child rapist. And so the crime was committed a long time ago? It's still rape. You think there is some kind of statute of limitation? Not for sex crimes in the state of California. Not for failure to appear in court. And certainly not for a crime the man already pleaded guilty to!

And let's not forget the most absurd defense: he is an artist! A genius even! Of course, I'm only hearing this crap defense from other so-called artists. Why is that? Defending their own? They're better than lowly nobodies? Or they just don't care that a girl was raped?

I'm tired of the rich and famous getting away with crimes. No award winning filmmaker nor high-ranking government official can ever be given a free pass for egregious acts. We are a nation of laws... I hope?

No comments: