I am confused by all of this.
Firstly I dont quite see how Polanski can claim to be a victim in any way – he was guilty of a crime and thus fled the country to escape prison. Any exile is surely self imposed – and if he suffered by that he could have gone back to the US any time. I think it’s hard to say he did suffer given his lifestyle in France.
Does his background explain it?
The Daily Mail (UK national newspaper) mentioned Polanski’s upbringing several times; especially that his mother died in Auschwitz. Now I am sorry – that is an awful thing but hardly relevant to the matter at hand. Many sex offenders are abused or suffer as children. Lots of people lost mothers to Aushwitz. Is Polanski special in this aspect of his personal history? And does it affect how we should treat him?
There was also liberal mention of the murder of his first wife. Horrific indeed. But the same argument applies (though in this case there is legal recourse to argue he was “out of his mind” when abusing this child I dont see how that relates to him being able to avoid the charge by default – unlike other offenders).
It’s all politics
Yet arresting him now does feel political; if he has been to Switzerland before why was he not arrested before? There could be reasoning for this and if there is we should be told asap. The problem with that argument though (that it is political) is that it again doesn’t really relate to the question of “should Polanski just be let off”. That is more a question to ask the courts, the judges and the politicians; and sort out those who might be using this for political effect. The question is NOT why was he arrested now but why was he not arrested BEFORE.
The kid involved (now in her 40′s) is moving for the case to be dropped claiming the continued revisiting of it is difficult for her. I believe her; but what isnt mentioned in the papers (grr) is that Polanski settled out of court with her in 1993. Yes, he literally paid for his crime. There is an argument here to say that the victim feels he has paid for the crime, that in her eyes justice has been done and that the case should be dropped for HER benefit. This is the strongest argument in my eyes – but I worry that such an approach sends the wrong message to society.
If you can essentially pay off a rape victim that is a scary thought; and whilst I am sure there wont be a rash of pay-off’s in the wake of Polanski possibly getting off it does set a dangerous precedent. The way our compensation culture is going stuff like this will be run of the mill in the not too distance future. At that point, when criminal acts can be repaid with monetary damages, there is introduced a dangerous divide. Where a rich man can literally get away with murder.
I am being extreme in my examples there to hammer home the point; it probably won’t happen. But it’s worth considering.
At the end of the day one fact remains; Polanski raped and abused a 13 year old girl and admitted the crime. Were he any other person in the world the daily rags would have been proclaiming this a great victory for justice (I can even see the headlines now). I’m failing to see how it can be justified as the wrong thing to do because of who he is.
For a society that (rightly) shows paedophiles and rapists more disdain and disgust than all but the most sickening murderers it is intriguing people should actually feel he does not deserve to face a sentence for his crime. I cant even imagine how that conversation would go.
He raped a 13 year old girl 32 years ago.
Yes then he escaped to France before being sentenced.
Wow, that’s awful!
Yes and he lived in fairly luxury with his new family for the next 32 years.
Disgusting, did they get him?
Yep, Polanski was arrested in Switzerland the other day.
Good. Wait, what. As in Roman Polanski?Â well… perhaps there is more to it than meets the eye.
If we are to have double standards for a man because he is world famous and respected for his art then, well, we are walking down a worrying road.