We wanted to write a reaction post today to Roman Polanski’s arrest in Zurich over the weekend. However, after some reading/digging around the interwebs, we came to the conclusion that we would never in a million years be able to top the fantastic Kate Harding’s piece over at Broadsheet on the topic. Says Harding:
Roman Polanski raped a child. Let’s just start right there, because that’s the detail that tends to get neglected when we start discussing whether it was fair for the bail-jumping director to be arrested at age 76, after 32 years in “exile” (which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar, but never – poor baby – being able to return to the U.S.).
Harding kicks it off on the right foot by pointing out the sheer ridiculousness of feeling sorry for a man who RAPED A 13-YEAR OLD, admitted it, and then fled to France to live a fabulous life of Oscar wins and villas and probably lots of European glamour and delicious cheeses. Why on earth would we shed a tear for that ass hat?
Harding continues, linking to several articles on Polanski’s recent arrest that are discussing (still! after 32 years!) how the girl didn’t really look 13, and how she had a bitch for a mother so that makes it not Polanski’s fault (who can resist a girl with a pushy mother?!?), and basically how he shouldn’t be prosecuted for a crime he committed because, well, we’ve all been there. And besides, he’s old! And he’s made great films! And the press is demonizing him! But, you know, he still raped a child, so there’s that.
There is also the matter of the 45-year old victim who does not want to deal with the media circus that is this case. Who can blame her? Her desire to be left out of the spotlight, however, does not mean that Polanski should not be prosecuted. Harding again:
The point is not to keep 76-year-old Polanski off the streets or help his victim feel safe. The point is that drugging and raping a child, then leaving the country before you can be sentenced for it, is behavior our society should not – and at least in theory, does not – tolerate, no matter how famous, wealthy or well-connected you are, no matter how old you were when you finally got caught, no matter what your victim says about it now, no matter how mature she looked at 13, no matter how pushy her mother was, and no matter how many really swell movies you’ve made.
So here’s hoping that Roman Polanski is prosecuted, the way he and all other child rapists deserve to be. And we’ll conclude here in the only appropriate way, by quoting Kate Harding:
The reporting on Polanski’s arrest has been every bit as “bizarrely skewed,” if not more so. Roman Polanski may be a great director, an old man, a husband, a father, a friend to many powerful people, and even the target of some questionable legal shenanigans. He may very well be no threat to society at this point. He may even be a good person on balance, whatever that means. But none of that changes the basic, undisputed fact: Roman Polanski raped a child. And rushing past that point to focus on the reasons why we should forgive him, pity him, respect him, admire him, support him, whatever, is absolutely twisted.