Thursday, 1 October 2009

I feel quite shaken

... by this whole Roman Polanski episode.

I didn't even know about his rape conviction until the recent arrest. I'm sure many people didn't. In case you still don't - the film director Roman Polanski was charged in 1977 with statutory rape, after drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl. A deal was struck and he pleaded guilty to a different charge - something like "unlawful sexual conduct"... but in between then and the sentencing he fled the US and set up camp in France. Since then he has made lots of films, married, had children, won an Oscar and carefully not entered the US or the UK.

He was recently arrested when entering Switzerland for a film festival being held in his honour. Switzerland has an extradition treaty with the US so the idea is that he will be sent back to the US to be sentenced and serve his time. He did, after all, admit to raping a child and then fled the country.

Now comes the shocking part. Hundreds of film industry names (these names) have been signing a petition to free Polanski (to allow him to remain freely in Europe), which states that the arrest takes away the freedom of an artist of international renown.

Maybe I shouldn't be shocked at this. Maybe I should have realised that rich and famous people usually think they're better than everyone else. That very talented people sometimes start to think that their own talent is more important than truth, or justice, or integrity.

But I am shocked. I honestly believed that most of the people in the film industry, even the great big famous ones, still knew that they are people just like everyone else. I thought that the self-centred, up-on-a-pedestal ones were really very rare. According to that list of names, I was pretty wrong. People I admire are on that list - Harrison Ford, Tilda Swinton, Terry Gilliam, Guillermo del Toro....

I have to admit I searched frantically through the names and was very relieved not to see Johnny Depp, or Geoffery Rush, or Kate Winslet (though, disappointingly, her husband, Sam Mendes, is there). I love my favourite actors for their own character as much as for their abilities so at least I still have that measure of sanity to cling to.

Disappointing, "Hollywood", so disappointing.

I'm going to bed, hoping that someone with as much integrity as money & fame stands up and speaks the truth - simply that a convicted criminal should face his past and serve his time.


Maggie said...

It's completely sick what he did and completely sickening that anyone, anywhere would support him in his bid to avoid justice. How can anyone be pro-child-rape??? How??? I'm serious, what do they say to themselves that makes it okay?

jkr2 said...

all i can think is they're getting it mixed up with the relationship he had with natassja kinski. which - while still 'wrong' (she was underage) was (in some uses of the word) 'consensual'.

but this thing - he drugged and raped someone. she said no and he continued. even if she wasn't a child (which she was) it would be rape. the fact it happened to a child is even more shocking, but not even the decider that makes it a crime. if that makes sense.

i'm really upset over this. davide heyman, sumara! D:


sometimes the world sucks.

Sumara said...

Maggie - I know! I keep asking myself the same thing - what are they actually thinking, that justifies an admitted and convicted sexual offender not having to be punished?

SURELY they don't actually believe consciously that being talented and famous makes it okay to abuse a child! SURELY! Because if they actually do, the industry is kind of irreparably fucked up.

jkr - And he ADMITTED it. There is no shadow of doubt in any way that he is guilty. Augh!

If they're getting it mixed up, with all the info that is available, then they're stupid sheep in their stupid little club and that is just as bad as any other reason they may have.

David Heyman! He WORKS (albeit indirectly I guess, but still) with children of that age! 13-year-olds. Teenagers. CHILDREN.

I repeat, augh!

Maggie said...

I guess their logic is it's been too long, plus the girl herself keeps asking that they let it go (she's in her 40s or something now?) but what comes across is that they're approving of it, or allowing it. Even silence is too much approval for me. That guy needs to get the full punishment and should have gotten it many years ago. Sick.

jkr2 said...

i knew i loved this man.

I think he should have done the time or appealed in the US. He was convicted of raping a 13 year old girl.


Hand Solo said...

hi, just blog surfing and read your post. I'm with you 100% on this, any sane person could not condone the actions of a child rapist (or indeed any rapist) no matter how famous, rich or talented. The fact remains he's guilty and fled before he could be jailed. The fact he had also had an underage 'affair' before this (repeat offender?)should also brought into play. I however expect he'll have a good lawyer, a plea bargin and a paltry month or two in a open prison....justice?

anyhoo, hi and bye..