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Free Polanski? UPDATED!

09.29.09

Recently arrested film director Roman Polanski has the support of much of Hollywood as he fights extradition to the United States from Switzerland to face charges of drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson’s house back in 1978 that he has evaded for over thirty years.

All signs point to him being guilty – including his own guilty plea – hence why he’s lived in France for the past three decades.  Yet Hollywood royalty like Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen (although, I’m not sure what kind of endorsement it is coming from him), and even female actors Monica Bellucci and Tilda Swinton, support Polanski and don’t want him brought to America to be put on trial.

Why?

Sure, the guy is really good at making movies.  Tinseltown even awarded him the high honor of Best Director for the film “The Pianist.”  But we didn’t see the music industry get behind Phil Spector when he was on trial for murder of actress Lana Clarkson.  I know Polanski didn’t kill anyone, but the rape of an unconscious seventh grader can’t be too far behind on the moral infraction scale.

Now, I don’t know anything about extradition or international law.  And I always thought that Switzerland was a neutral country.  But, in all honesty, I don’t even know what that means in terms of an American criminal getting caught there.  I also don’t know that those Hollywood supporters are the best people to listen to regarding the legality and ramifications of his capture in Zurich.  They’re filmmakers, not lawyers.

I’m curious to see how this plays out.  If it turns out that Polanski was arrested illegally and he gets to go back to France and live as a free man, well, it’s not like it’ll be all that different from how things have been for the past thirty-one years.  And if he ends up being extradited to California, he’ll get what he deserves.

It’s hard to really defend this guy.  Talented artist or not, international law or not, he forced himself on a 13-year-old girl.  His celebrity shouldn’t alleviate him of paying his debt to society like the rest of us.

UPDATE:

I’m not sure I really conveyed this as well as I wanted to.

Polanski deserves to get the maximum sentence for his crimes.  We shouldn’t even be having this conversation nor should there be any support for him.  Were he just a regular guy living in Michigan, everyone would be condemning him for his despicable and disgusting actions.  He’d be a brief blip on the news radar and then spend the next decade or more in prison with no one – especially no one of remote importance or celebrity – fighting for his release.  If reasonably intelligent (I guess that remains to be seen) and successful professionals like Scorsese can be blinded by Polanski’s talent and celebrity notoriety, it’s no wonder we have kids like OSU QB Terrelle Pryor calling everyone murderers and supporting Michael Vick.

Polanski committed a monstrous and heinous act that doesn’t soften or diminish in immorality simply by the passing of time.  What he did to that poor girl was, is, and always will be a hideous crime that deserves punishment no matter what country the coward flees to.

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7 comments

  1. Like the rest of us? Did you do something I need to know about?


  2. Totally agree Mason. It’s so weird the way he is being treated like a victim.


  3. I think the only problem with trying to try/convict him now is that the victim no longer wants anything to do with this. She has said that every time this gets dragged up she has to live through it again. I even think she said she feels like she was given a life sentence because the issue has never been allowed to rest. So I kinda think that if the victim is not interested in pressing charges (not because of outside pressure, but because it has been over 30 years, she has been put through emotional hell, famous people publicly support her assailant (which has to feel like they are against you) etc.) then the issue should be laid to rest. Do I think what happened (him living in luxury and continuing to have a successful career in France) was fair? Nope. Pretty sure it was a gross miscarriage of justice. But it sounds like Polanski’s imprisonment wouldn’t bring the victim any peace or resolution – so I’m not sure how much damage can be repaired at this point. I don’t know if any of that made sense – I feel like I’m rambling. I guess I just mean to point out that Polanski’s re-arrest doesn’t just affect him, and that the impact on the victim’s life (and her opinion) should also hold some weight…


  4. Here’s a link to an article about the victim’s point of view:
    http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2009/09/28/2009-09-28_roman_polanskis_victim_now_45_got_over_it_long_ago.html


  5. @Kate – you bring up some interesting points that I thought needed a closer examination and ended up being much too long to be a comment. Please see my new blog post for my response.


    • Yes, if we get in the way back machine, what Polanski allegedly did was a very bad thing. Thing is…although he was going to take a plea bargain, his entire court proceeding was a fucking joke, and we’ll never know exactly what happened at Jack’s place.

      Roman left because he thought he was going to (ahem) get screwed over by the judge.

      Point is, the entire world has basically forgiven Polanski for any alleged misbehavior. Really…he got a standing ovation just for his name being read for Best Director.

      The girl claims that all is forgiven, but that simply makes me suspicious. Anyone subjected to supposed egregious sexuality like that are 99 percent ruined for life mentally. Trust me, I’ve known plenty.

      Too many unknowns to really cast judgment on Roman. And that nobody from LA has REALLY gone after him in all this time until now….well…that just means the DA’s office is looking for a higher budget next fiscal year. Pure and simple.

      Switzerland’s act is deplorable, and I hope they are looked down on by the entire European Union. (not they they were held in such high regard in the first place).

      FREE POLANSKI!!!!!!!!!!


      • This case sure is interesting as far as the human psyche goes. As time passes, it seems that most people are much more willing to forgive, especially since Polanski hasn’t raped any more women (that we know of) and has committed to a family life. Like you said, even the victim herself has forgiven him.

        And I also find it really odd that there’s still someone in the LA justice department that keeps track of Polanski enough to still be looking for a way to grab him in Switzerland. Seems like, while Polanski’s crime was brutal and devastating, there are more pertinent and timely cases to be working on at this very moment.

        However, I’m not sure there are too many unknowns of the actual incident. He drugged her, he raped her. Pretty straight-forward.

        And I’m not sure it’s really Switzerland’s fault. Their foreign policy with regards to extradition wasn’t designed just for Polanski’s pursuers. But, if they are going to extradite him, what’s taking so long?



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