HOLLYWOOD MORALITY - and MANY others it would seem!
From the October 2009 edition of the Canadian "MACLEAN'S"
Why Roman Polanski belongs in prison
On one side stand some of our era's most accomplished movie
directors: Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, John Landis, David
Lynch, Wim Wenders, Terry Gilliam, Pedro Almodovar, Jonathan
Demme, Costa-Gavras, Jean-Jacques Annaud ...
On the other side, a much shorter list: justice and common
The recent arrest of Roman Polanski, the celebrated
Polish-born movie director who pleaded guilty in 1978 to having
illegal sex with a 13-year old girl, and has been a fugitive ever
since, has become a strangely polarizing event.
The artistic elite, as well as many highprofile European
politicians and members of the media, appear to believe a
lifetime of admired work can be a mitigating factor in the
application of justice.
French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand denounced the
arrest in Zurich as "absolutely horrifying" and claimed it showed
"a side of America which is frightening." Radoslaw Sikorski, the
Polish foreign minister, demanded immediate clemency for his
country's famous son.
In one of the more bizarre defences of Polanski, comedian
Whoopi Goldberg appeared on the daytime television show "The
View" to argue the moviemaker's action fell into a grey area of
legality. "I know it wasn't rape-rape. It was something else but
I don't believe it was rape-rape."
Finally a legion of famous directors and artists, just a few
of whom are listed above, signed a petition organized by a French
writers' union. The petition reads in part: "Roman Polanski is a
French citizen, a renown[ed] and international artist, now facing
extradition. This extradition, if it takes place, will be heavy
in consequence and will take away his freedom." Which is, of
course, precisely the reason why everyone else thinks it ought to
Polanski committed a crime in 1977. He admitted committing
this crime. And it was certainly not an inconsequential act. On
the eve of his sentencing, he fled the country and has lived as a
fugitive from justice ever since. That he has continued to make
movies, win awards (including an Oscar for best director in 2002)
and live a life of conspicuous luxury in Europe should not be
misinterpreted as an exculpation of his original deed, regardless
of how many of his peers sign a petition.
The quality of an artist's oeuvre can never be considered an
excuse for criminal behaviour. And Goldberg's grotesque gradient
of sexual assault, in which a 44-year-old man having sex with a
13-year-old girl despite her repeated protestations does not meet
her criteria for "rape-rape," is insulting to both women and men.
To its credit, the French government has lately come to its
senses. "Roman Polanski is neither above nor beneath the law,"
said Luc Chatel, the minister of national education who serves as
the official spokesman for the French government. "We have a
judicial procedure underway for a serious affair, the rape of a
minor, on which the American and Swiss legal systems are doing
As for the culture minister's initial remarks? "Frederic
Mitterrand was speaking from the heart," Chatel added. The Polish
prime minister has similarly qualified his foreign minister's
position on convicted rapists.
But the artistic community remains unbowed in its defence of
Polanski. Because the case is not in dispute, it must be that
Hollywood doesn't consider itself bound by the same rules as
other folk. Justice and common sense would disagree.
In 1977 Polanski arranged to take pictures of 13-year-old
Samantha Gailey, an aspiring model and actress, for "Vogue:"
During their second photo session, they ended up at Jack
In grand jury testimony provided two weeks after the
incident and released to the public in 2003, Gailey explained in
excruciating detail - and in the unmistakable cadence of a
13-year-old girl - how Polanski plied her with champagne and
Quaaludes to get her naked, drunk and drugged. When she resisted
his advances in a hot tub by faking an asthma attack, Polanski
manoeuvred her onto a couch in one of Nicholson's bedrooms.
In this excerpt from her testimony, Gailey explains to Roger
Gunson, the deputy district attorney, what came next:
Gunson: What happened when you sat down on the couch?
Gailey: He sat down beside me and asked me if I was okay.
Gunson: What did you say, if anything?
Gailey: I said, No.
Gunson: What did he say?
Gailey: He goes, 'Well, you'll be better.' And I go, 'No, I
won't. I have to go home.'
Gunson: What happened then?
Gailey: He reached over and kissed me. And I was telling him,
'No,' - you know, 'keep away.' But I was kind of afraid of him
because there was no one else there.
According to Gailey's testimony, she said no to Polanski
another four times. After which he engaged in oral sex,
intercourse and anal sex with her.
So perhaps Goldberg's observation that it wasn't "rape-rape"
is correct after all. It was rape-rape-rape. And even then only a
knock on the bedroom door disturbed Polanski sufficiently to
allow the girl to leave.
So there's no question Polanski had sex with a minor. He
pleaded guilty to this charge after striking a bargain that saw
additional charges dropped, including rape by means of drugs.
Unable to deny his guilt, Polanski's supporters muster a variety
of irrelevant arguments that he should be excused from the
consequences of his actions. Polanski is "a great artist," movie
mogul Harvey Weinstein opined last week in an open letter to
Hollywood demanding his release on humanitarian grounds.
"Whatever you think of his socalled crime, Polanski has served
Beyond the curious labelling of statutory rape as a
"so-called crime," Weinstein is simply wrong. Polanski did spend
42 days in jail, but this was a court-ordered pre-sentencing
observation period supervised by the California probation
department as part of a process to determine if he should be
considered a "mentally disordered sex offender."
Polanski was expressly aware that his sentencing decision
would not occur until after the probation report was complete.
And the judge was under no obligation to accept any plea bargain.
That's how the justice system works. For everyone.
A 2008 documentary "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"
claimed Polanski had good reason to flee, as it purported to show
evidence of judge tampering and misconduct. But the lawyer who
made the key claim in this regard has since recanted his
allegations and now admits to lying to the filmmaker.
Other sympathizers, such as columnist Anne Applebaum of the
WashingtonPost, consider Polanski's tragic past, including a
mother who died in Auschwitz and the brutal murder of his wife,
Sharon Tate, at the hands of Charles Manson's cult, as reason
enough to cut him a break. Besides, she writes on her blog, "He
has paid for his crime in many, many ways: in notoriety, in
lawyers' fees, in professional stigma " That lawyers' fees might
be considered an alternative to jail time should be an intriguing
proposition for anyone accused of a crime. Applebaum, by the way,
is married to the Polish foreign minister.
Then there's the fact that Gailey, now Samantha Geimer, has
publicly forgiven Polanski and requested that he be released. Her
family settled an undisclosed civil suit with Polanski many years
ago. In 1997 she said publicly that Polanski ought to be allowed
to return to the U.S. "with out the threat of more time spent in
jail." She repeated these arguments more recently. While
forgiveness of this sort is a noble sentiment, it misses the
point. In the Western justice system, it's not up to the victim
to decide the punishment. Polanski's crime violated the standards
of society, not simply those of the Gailey family. His crime
cannot simply be wiped away on her say-so.
Lastly, whatever the arguments of Polanski's sympathizers
regarding his original crime, artistic output, scarred life or
mistreatment at the hands of philistines, it remains a fact that
fleeing the U.S. justice system is a serious offence. As a
fugitive from the law, he should have every expectation that he
will be pursued and eventually brought to justice. To do
otherwise would invite further escapees, particularly among an
artistic community that appears to consider itself exempt from
law or morality.
There is no denying Polanski's genius as a filmmaker. His
legion of supporters and many accomplishments are testament to
that. But these professional achievements cannot exonerate his
Society has an obligation to protect 13-yearold girls from
sexual predators, whether they make great movies or not. M
That is the truth of the matter in regards to our laws of the
land, which, certainly the laws to protect children from abuse,
are right and proper. The writer of the above lead article in
Maclean's magazine, has an iron-clad point.
The same can be said for the Eternal God of the universe and His
law. It is un-distructable, it is written in stone, it has never
been "done away with" or "ablished" (and those theology people
who claim it is, do so because they do not want to observe the
4th commandment - that's the bottom line of their theology), and
so the death penalty for breaking that law, we, all of us, have
come under its sentance. God could not (to remain just and holy)
ignore the pentalty of breaking His law, on the merit of some of
our "good works" and just free us with a wave of His hand. The
PENALTY - DEATH - had to be paid. One of the very members of the
GODHEAD, the One we know today as Jesus Christ, was WILLING to
PUT ASIDE glory and eternity as WITH the One we call "Father"
today, and come as a physical human being, to overcome sin in the
flesh, and to DIE a terrible death on a cross, so WE could have
OUR death penalty paid for us by GOD!
Folks, I do not know what greater LOVE you could find. When you
stop and really meditate upon it, that love is beyond human words
YOU, can be set free from SIN and DEATH, from the penalty of
breaking the laws of the Greatest law maker in the universe. It
matters not what sins you are guilty of. You can be cleansed, you
can have them washed away by the BLOOD of the Lamb - Jesus
Christ. If YOU have not yet done so, I ask you to get on your
knees, confess that you are a sinner, REPENT of sin, cry out to
God the Father to FORGIVE you through the sacrifice of Christ. I
ask you to accept Jesus Christ as your, yes your, PERSONAL
YOU can be saved by GRACE through FAITH!
If you have not done so, you need to study my study called "Saved
by Grace" and the other studies on "Real Repentance" and "Saving