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Shame on the Swiss
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Re: Shame on the Swiss

Labhead wrote:
Squirrel M. Nutter wrote:
I wonder what makes people glad he got off?

The incident being 30 years ago doesn't make it any less of a rape.

And lets forget all this talk about him "being exiled." He was a convicted felon who fled justice, a criminal on the lam, not man enough to take responsibility for his actions. And its not like he was on some barren rock in the middle of nowhere. He was in France, going to Cannes, apparently living a very good life.

OK, I'll probably regret this, but here goes.
There are several problems and confusion here, and you can be against the recent developments while being against the statuatory rape at the same time.

A couple articles that don't contain everything I've read, but are a good starting point:

1) Why did the mother send her 13 yr old daughter unsupervised to a risque photo shoot?

2) There is evidence that Polanski did not know her real age.

3) Instead of defending himself as not guilty, Polanski agreed to a plea bargain where he would serve some time, and then right before the trial found out that the judge was going to renig on the deal and make an example by sentencing him longer than normal. He probably had a fear of irrational punishment after his hard life up to that point (Polanski's mother died in Auschwitz. His father survived Mauthausen. He himself survived the Krakow ghetto, and later emigrated from communist Poland. His pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered in 1969 by the followers of Charles Manson, though for a time Polanski himself was a suspect.)

4) After 30 years, isn't the statute of limitations in affect, or would you prefer to ignore the rules in preference of emotions?

5) Why did the US not have France have a go in court, which was an option for years?

6) The victim does not want this to continue and has forgiven him, as she's said that it hurts her and her family when this is brought up again and reporters hound her privacy?

7) He has paid for the crime in many, many ways: In notoriety, in lawyers' fees, in professional stigma. He could not return to Los Angeles to receive his recent Oscar. He cannot visit Hollywood to direct or cast a film.

I'm sure there's other things I'm forgetting as well.

We weren't there, so we don't know exactly how everything happened. Nothing is ever that easy or black & white. Like I said, I don't agree with what he did and he should probably have been punished (after a fair trial 30 years ago that never happened), but I don't know if I agree with breaking the rules after all this time just because many people didn't do their job over many years.

None of these arguments are convincing, except a small part but powerful part of 6. 1 is a shameful argument that I am surprised anyone would raise. 2 is spin. 3 is actually two arguments, the first of which is a selfish defense as these "unfair trials" happen to thousands every day without defense from the stereolab forum (a judge had every right to put Polanski away despite a bargain between prosecution and defense), the second of which is spin. 4 is legally incorrect. 5 is irrelevant. 7 is spin, the worst of which is the boo-fucking-hoo about getting his oscar.

As far as we know, he did it and nobody has denied this. So let's consider:

Reform - DevastatorJr. made a good case that he may not be reformed. Life is littered with tales of Hollywood excess and there is no reason to assume that privately he would not do it again. On the other hand, people may know he is reformed and penitent about his crimes. In the end, I don't know.

Restraint - much like reform, it may or may not be the case that he needs to be locked up. If he is reformed then no. If he is still drugging kids and raping them then he must be stopped. The lack of cases against him may suggest he is not still offending. In that case, we have some good but not great reasons to let him go as the first 2 r's could be in his favour.

Deterrent - this aspect is pretty powerful when it comes to locking him up. If others see that being a Hollywood poster boy allows you to rape children and get away with it then they will do it too. Look at Michael Jackson. For every Roman Polanski being brought to trial, there are probably ten smug pricks who have hush money thrown left right and centre. Hollywood has a lot of money and powerful friends in the press. They are so convincing that people here in this forum put energy into defending this "great" filmmaker. I say deterrent is a strong reason to lock him up. He has not suffered and his continued freedom and support do not send the right message.

Retribution - a weak reason but there certainly is a case for it. I do not like the idea of revenge and judges put less weight on this one. The victim says she does not want the case to continue so that is something to consider. On the one hand, her stated reasons like wanting the press to leave her alone are sad, especially as the press love this guy. This could lead us to believe that he should still be jailed as the reasons she does not want the case to continue are so that she will not be hounded by Polanski's buddies. Furthermore, as Cheeso said, it is the state that brought the case, not her.
However, if she has the power of forgiveness then this a strength that cannot be ignored. The power to forgive a selfish pig who will not even return to face the true consequences, a rich arsehole who has millions around the world rush to his aid and offer defense and sanctuary when he drugged and raped a child and left the country, a millionaire who is defended because he makes films, a man who selfishly thinks a judge is wrong because he did not accept an elitist plea bargain and instead chose to send a message to the wealthy and popular then I say her forgiveness is a powerful consideration. If she has truly forgiven him then perhaps we should too.

Jul 14, 2010, 11:35


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