Hollywood Goes Silent on Rape and Sodomy: A Polanski Victory

Yesterday, 76-year-old child rapist Roman Polanski was released from the house arrest he was under with the Swiss government’s decision to not extradite him to the United States, based on a technicality of California law. They blamed a fault in the US extradition request and the failure to provide confidential testimony about his original hearing; the judge in the case is long-dead. Polanski’s exile is a story of more than a single rape, but of a rape culture, the incident emblematic of a poisonous mindset where a rich, troubled artist can drug and rape a nonconsenting 13-year-old girl with utter impunity, and serve no sentence for it.

In the Spring of 1977, Polanski invited 13-year-old model Samantha Geimer to a house for a photo shoot, giving her alcohol and Quaaludes, a potent mixture. He invited the intoxicated girl into a bedroom; she recalls saying “No, no. I don’t want to go in there. No, I don’t want to do this. No!” Despite her protests, he raped and sodomized her, and the next day he was arrested and charged with rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious acts upon a child under fourteen, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor. In a plea deal designed to protect Geimer’s identity, five of the charges were dropped, and Polanski was only facing time for unlawful sexual intercourse – or statutory rape. On eve of his sentencing, Polanski fled the country, leaving behind responsibility for his crimes.

With his thirty years spent in France making award winning films and his vindication now in Switzerland, Polanski has won. He has the high opinion of his friends in Hollywood who defended him – Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese, Jeremy irons, John Landis, and many others – as well as a media who almost monolithically refers to his crime as “having sex with” a 13-year-old girl, ignoring the drugs and the victim’s verbal protests, as if age just were a number. He has defenders among the people of France, Poland, and America, some of whom have compared the hatred of sex offenders to the hatred of Jews in Nazi Germany. His star still lies on the Lodz Walk of Fame in Poland. He even has the forgiveness of his victim, who he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to in the 1990s. His release was met with joy from the embarrassingly vast amount of supporters Polanski has in Hollywood, and especially abroad. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner stated that “The great Franco-Polish director can now freely rediscover his loved ones and devote himself fully to the pursuit of his artistic activities.” His Polish counterpart echoed his vile sentiments, warmly embracing Polanski as a cultural icon of Poland.

The outpour of support Polanski has received from many in the film community is another example of how “Hollywood liberals” are anything but. There has been sparse condemnation of those who deserve to be condemned, such as Roman Polanski. (A good example: Mel Gibson, who was recorded telling his girlfriend that it would be her fault if she were “raped by a pack of niggers.” His repulsive racism has been met with deafening silence, and while he has been dropped from his agency, there is little outcry against this man who has been known for his racism, sexism, and anti-semitism in the past.) Polanski can count many in Hollywood as his friends, and despite the controversy, remains free and wealthy.

Apologists can accuse the US authorities of going on a witch hunt, or call the 13-year-old a slut, or her mother a gold digger, or Polanski a great artist who should be excused from punishment due to his own personal tragedies, but it’s impossible to avoid the core of this case – Polanski raped a young girl and has effectively gotten away with it. Everything else is irrelevant: there is an unrepentant child predator who will never face justice being supported by a mob of elite and wealthy people willing to make apologies for him and reasons for his behavior.

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2 Comments on “Hollywood Goes Silent on Rape and Sodomy: A Polanski Victory”

  1. 1 Liz said at 4:27 pm on July 15th, 2010:

    Ronan, thanks for writing this. I’m sick of hearing anyone defend Roman Polanski. He may be a talented filmmaker, but that does not vindicate him. It is completely irrelevant and it never will be relevant to the fact that he raped a 13 year old girl.

  2. 2 Ashley Lebesco said at 11:20 am on July 16th, 2010:

    This was an awesome piece! Sadly enough you are one of the few people to seem Roman Polanski for what he is and call him out on it.


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