Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Christian Toto at Big Hollywood: HuffPo Goes All In to Defend Polanski, Readers Revolt

Yep, suck it up elite glitterati types: Your hero Roman Polanski drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl and then fled justice. You condoned this at the time and defended him in the name of art, probably because you couldn't care less about American girls being raped by European directors. Now that the chips are down and Polanski might get his ass dragged back here, you are panicking, because you realize people will again start wondering about your defense of the indefensible.

However, lamentably, they are accidentally right. I am furious about this, by the way. But let's examine the reasons why.

In 1977, Roman Polanski drugged and raped a 13 year-old girl named Samantha Gailey (who has since gotten married and changed her last name to Geimer). The fact he did this is not disputable--he signed a confession in order to accept a plea deal. The deal (hat tip to my friend Kat for pointing this out) was that he pled to a reduced charge and check himself in to the psychiatric facility in Chino, and then the judge determines the sentence based upon the recommendations of the medical staff there.

Unfortunately for him (and for the aims of justice), the judge said "fuck you, I'm not taking the plea deal", and in response, Polanski fled the country, where he has been on the lam ever since. So, while the root cause of this issue is Polanski raping a young girl, a judge's attempt to railroad him caused him to flee. And furthermore, the most he ever could've gotten under the statute at the time was 2 years in prison, anyway. That's it.

So, that's the first problem. The legal system has only itself to blame for this mess.

The second thing is that the only reason the LA prosecutors are suddenly getting motivated is that Polanski embarrassed them in a court filing. They've had 30 years to nab this guy, and they're just now interested because his lawyers insulted them?

No wonder Samantha Geimer has started saying things like this:

I think he's sorry, I think he knows it was wrong. I don't think he's a danger to society. I don't think he needs to be locked up forever and no one has ever come out ever — besides me — and accused him of anything. It was 30 years ago now. It's an unpleasant memory ... (but) I can live with it.

This is from the Wikipedia article on Polanski, by the way, but I'm reasonably sure it's legit.

So, we have two choices:

1. Spend millions of dollars trying to "bring Polanski to justice."

2. Let him get away with it.

As with everything, I think we should ask, "what is the benefit and who is harmed?"

Behind door #1 we have two very real harms. The first is that Geimer just wants to get on with her life. This has now gone on for 30 years, and she's just sick of it. Who can blame her? The window for justice has closed.

The second is that this is likely to cost the taxpayers of California millions of dollars. This is not in itself a problem--the most annoying thing about rich people who break the law is that their ability to hire not one but dozens of lawyers makes prosecuting them hideously expensive. Fortunately there aren't many rich people, and rich people often get a free pass on things anyway, so this isn't usually a problem.

But now, California is dead-ass broke. Prosecuting Polanski is now a zero-sum game. The money that goes for this will have to come from somewhere else. I don't know if I want to risk taking that money from a schoolteacher's salary or the prosecution of 100 other rapists.

What's the benefit? Well, Polanski goes to jail. I'm not sure for how long--the "man" is 76 years old and it's unlikely he'd live more than a few years in prison. Also, if he were locked up, he couldn't do it to anyone else. But, I also don't think that's a serious risk at this point. It's hard to say.

And we help the LA prosecutors out with their careers. Yay, or something.

An acquaintance of mine thinks that option #2 is horrid because it, in his words, "directly condones the culture of rape." Well, I can't argue with that. But is that seriously worse than the harms given above? I can't see how it is.

If what happened on Huffington Post was any indication, though, people will be fucking pissed. But I think this outrage is actually good, and maybe it would lead to more good than locking up Polanski.

For example, it's giving the Huffington Post a major black eye.

But get this through your thick skulls, you Eurotrash assholes: Yes, Polanski is a great director. So, what? Hitler built the Autobahn. What Polanski did to Samantha Gailey destroys human dignity just as much as Hitler's attempt to murder Polanski and everyone else who is Jewish.

I am not above burning everything Polanski has ever done and never mentioning his name again. Or, at minimum, the rightsholders to his works should recredit them to "Alan Smithee" and erase Polanski's name from history. Because we have to remember Hitler's name.

But Polanski? Fuck him, we can do without his memory.

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