Shit. I’ve tried to keep this site away from the fray concerning Roman Polanski’s recent arrest, because it’s not at all a discussion I care to have here. Where rape is concerned, it tends to get heated and oftentimes ugly in our comment section. It makes me uncomfortable, to say the least, when the greatest group of commenters on the Internet devolves into the level of bickering that the subject has often created here.
But the Polanski situation has gotten to a point where it can hardly be ignored by a film site, as the arrest has already resulted in suspension of production on Polanski’s mostly finished film, The Ghost starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan.
As most of you probably already know, Polanski was arrested in Switzerland over the weekend, under a U.S. arrest warrant from 1978, stemming from charges of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. He fled the country, then, to avoid imprisonment (he was confined to Auschwitz by the Nazis during World War II and, understandably, didn’t want to face another imprisonment). And honestly, Polanski was sandbagged — he’d been to Switzerland several times, and never expected the United States to exercise its right to extradite him. But they did, and now Polanski is in jail. And today, 110 film industry figures — including Martin Scorcese, Woody Allen, David Lynch, Wim Wenders, Pedro Almodovar, Tilda Swinton and Monica Bellucci — have signed a petition to have him released.
To that I say: Fuck them. I don’t care how long ago it was, or how celebrated a filmmaker Polanski has become since: Dude drugged, raped, and sodomized an a 13-year-old girl. There’s a reason that the statute of limitations doesn’t run out on rape. Because it’s rape. It’s a vile, horrific crime, and for Polanski to suggest that he’s already been served his punishment is preposterous. He’s lived it up for three decades; he’s continued to be an honored filmmaker; and he’s made some great films that, perhaps, should’ve never been made.
But it’s time. It’s long past time. I know that the victim in this case — who is 43 now — wants to dismiss the charges because she wants to put the entire ordeal behind her. I can sympathize with that — it’s awful for her. She was raped, and she’s had to face the consequences for 33 years, while Polanski has lived it up in Europe. But there’s really only two ways to put it behind her: Either Polanski dies, or he’s tried on the charges. And if you ask me — I don’t care how celebrated the man is — if the allegations are actually true, then he deserves to die in prison. He was 44. She was 13. And just because he’s a goddamn Oscar winning director doesn’t mean that he should be excused for his actions.
“This affair is frankly a bit sinister. Here is a man of such talent, recognised worldwide, recognised especially in the country where he was arrested. This is not nice at all,” said the French Foreign Minister.
You know what else is not “nice at all”? Raping a minor.