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Lock-Polanski-up rants are shocking

One can imagine the terror the filmmaker has of being sent back to an American prison


 

Reflex lock-Polanski-up rants are shockingI’m not wildly excited to be at the barricades with film producer Harvey Weinstein, who has organized a petition on behalf of jailed film director Roman Polanski. But a thing may be true even though Lord Beaverbrook—or in this case Harvey Weinstein and Woody Allen—says it. Actually, not quite true because the petition isn’t really about Roman; its beef is that Polanski was arrested “on his way” to a film festival, which “by their extraterritorial nature” are special safe zones. If this decision stands, states the petition, no filmmaker will ever feel safe attending a fest again. The thought of a world film-fest free is almost enough to bring me on board against Polanski.

But let’s pretend that discussion on Polanski can yield to rational consideration rather than utter hysteria. On March 10, 1977, Polanski, 43, and Samantha Gailey, 13, had a sexual encounter in the home of actor Jack Nicholson, who was out of town. Only they know what happened. The reason we don’t know is that the case never went to trial. Grand jury testimony is meaningless since the accused and his lawyer are not present and the alleged victim not cross-examined.

Polanski initially faced six felony charges, including rape and sodomy, but pleaded guilty to one count of intercourse with a minor. This agreement might have been the truth of what happened, though that is rarely the logic of a plea bargain. Perhaps the DA wanted to protect the girl from a trial’s publicity. Perhaps the prosecutors felt their charges would not hold up in court, though Polanski admitted to giving the girl one third of a Quaalude pill and champagne. Whatever, all involved must have had their reasons for the plea.

The court’s pre-sentencing report concluded Polanski was not a deranged sex offender and it did not recommend prison. The judge, now dead, apparently decided to send Polanski to Chino State Prison for a further pre-sentencing 90-day psychiatric evaluation as “punishment”—not normally the purpose of an evaluation—after which Polanski would be released. The judge coached prosecution and defence on what to say in court for the benefit of the press. He himself held a press conference—unheard of for a judge.

Chino released Polanski after only 42 days, which irritated the judge. He then reneged on the deal and once more tried to get prosecution and defence to take part in a staged courtroom show. (They refused. Polanski fled to Paris before sentencing.)

How do we know this? Both the defence lawyer, Douglas Dalton, and the deputy district attorney, Roger Gunson, say so in Marina Zenovich’s documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. They reiterated it in court declarations this year as Polanski moved to have his case dismissed.

Even though she had some drug and sexual experience, for Polanski to take a young girl he had met only once before into a house and give her alcohol and even the smallest dose of medication was insanely stupid. And normally a 13-year-old would refuse the invitation. But this was Hollywood, he was a star director, she a would-be actress and daughter of a sometime actress, and so she went.

Polanski has never been a sympathetic figure in spite of his survival of the Holocaust as a child alone in Poland, and the horrific murder of his 8½-months-pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, by Charles Manson’s family. Because he was a sexual libertine in the Hollywood-bohemia set, this terrible murder was played by some tabloids as his own fault. He was “strange,” foreign and Jewish—but not in a familiar North American way. His films had peculiar sexual themes. The encounter with Samantha demonstrated both an abuse of his position and a sense of entitlement to a life many envy and resent. Even so, it is still a shock when such intellectual muscle as Wall Street Journal drama critic Terry Teachout disregard judicial shortcomings to emerge in print with the reflex lock-him-up rant.

P.D. Ouspensky, an early 20th-century philosopher, had a strange theory that everything in the world was finite; take away from one thing and its losses will be compensated by an increase somewhere else. This odd idea is a good metaphor for our attitude to consensual sexual encounters between adults and children. When I was growing up, homosexuals were beaten up, sent to prison and regarded as moral lepers. Single mothers would leave town, their families made pariahs. Adultery and illegitimacy were still in the Scarlet Letter category. All has changed: it’s fine to be gay, a positive virtue to announce you are a single mum, adultery and illegitimacy barely raise an eyebrow. But the hysteria and hatred these once-despised states evoked has now emigrated holus-bolus to sex between adults and underage respondents. Prison inmates consider it okay to beat up child molesters—“chomos”—who are prison untouchables. One can imagine the terror Polanski has of being sent back to an American prison.

The definition of childhood depends on the culture. Samantha was underage in California but not in South Korea or Spain. In more than 30 other countries the age of consent is 14. By now, happily married, she has publicly forgiven Polanski for whatever happened and repeatedly asked the courts not to send him to prison. Polanski himself has been successfully married for 20 years. The events of that day had only one lasting effect: Polanski went into exile from America and Hollywood, the capital of his profession.

For the past 30 years Polanski has been shut out of American films or films made where America has an extradition treaty. No higher price can ever have been paid for a smaller amount of pleasure.


 

Lock-Polanski-up rants are shocking

  1. Here are the undisputed facts:
    (1) Polanski had sex with a minor.
    (2) Polanski fed the minor a narcotic while seducing her.
    (3) Polanski fled the country rather than face trial.

    Here is the one question that matters:
    "How should any ordinary joe be treated by the law given these facts?"

    And here is the answer:
    "He'd be tried, convicted, and jailed."

    If you believe that justice is blind, you can't argue that Polanski should go free without showing how any other man in the same same legal situation should also go free. Items like his various hardships, his career, his marriage, the victim's forgiveness, the victim's prior sexual or drug history, the definition of childhood in other countries, and the treatment Polanski can expect in prison are all irrelevant. Frankly I am disappointed that Amiel even brought them up.

  2. Here are the undisputed facts:
    (1) Polanski had sex with a minor.
    (2) Polanski fed the minor a narcotic while seducing her.
    (3) Polanski fled the country rather than face trial.

    Here is the one question that matters:
    "How should any ordinary joe be treated by the law given these facts?"

    And here is the answer:
    "He should be arrested, tried, convicted, and jailed."

    If you believe that justice is blind, you can't argue that Polanski should go free without showing how any other man in the same same legal situation should also go free. Items like his various hardships, his career, his marriage, the victim's forgiveness, the victim's prior sexual or drug history, the definition of childhood in other countries, and the treatment he can expect in prison are all irrelevant. Frankly I am disappointed that Amiel even brought them up.

  3. Here are the undisputed facts:
    (1) Polanski had sex with a minor.
    (2) Polanski fed the minor a narcotic while seducing her.
    (3) Polanski fled the country rather than face trial.

    Here is the one question that matters:
    "How should any ordinary joe be treated by the law given these facts?"

    And here is the answer:
    "He'd be arrested, tried, convicted, and jailed."

    If you believe that justice is blind, you can't argue that Polanski should go free without showing how any other man in the same same legal situation should also go free. Items like his various hardships, his career, his marriage, the victim's forgiveness, the victim's prior sexual or drug history, the definition of childhood in other countries, and the treatment he can expect in prison are all irrelevant. Frankly I am disappointed that Amiel even brought them up.

  4. Call him "Father Polanski" and see what the public response would be regardless to the time line? double standard here ladies and gentlemen or what?

    • Very good point. If 'Father Polanski' was studying the Bible with his 13 year old student, then gave her drugs, champagne and had sex with her, there would be a multi million dollar law suit against the Catholic Church.

  5. Grand Jury testimony is meaningless? A description of the crime, by the victim, resulting in an indictment to trial is meaningless?

    Babs, it does seem that the judge's behavior was off the norm. But if anything, it weighed in Polanski's favor. He was to get off with 90 days in a hospital. Purveying drugs and alchohool to a 13-yr-old, raping and sodomizing a 13-yr-old are pretty serious crimes.
    The judge was no doubt miffed that Chino let him go before the 90 days was up. Polanski thought the 42 days was enough and and wasn't going to give the judge a chance to disagree.
    It was Polanski who skipped out and caused the losses you list. That flight is another crime all by itself.
    You think he's served enough? Shame on you.
    And by the bye, I'm pretty sure you don't have a 13-year-old girl.

  6. Unless you're math challenged, I'm not sure what the point is of mentioning countries where the age of consent is 14 — the girl in question was 13.

    Even so, it is an age of consent, not the age at which it is allowable to drug and rape someone.

    Polanski knowingly pled guilty to the lesser included offense and then ran when he thought the judge might give him more jail time. Why should that be treated any differently than any other criminal who escapes custody? He's thumbed his nose at the American legal system for thirty years. We don't give people medals for that when they're caught — we throw them in jail. And then we add some time for escape.

    I hope he delays extradition for months, because every day he spends sitting in jail in Switzerland is one more day he pays for the crime he committed.

    • There is so much emphasis on this girl's age, that people seem to forget that she said 'no' and the crime was rape, not just having sex with a minor. And, of course, there is the added crime of fleeing justice.

  7. Doesn't it make sense in this day and age that age of consent should be when a girl's body is developed enough to safely carry a child through pregnancy and childbirth and has the mental.emotional preparedness to ready to bring up a child?
    13 is way too young as well as 14… It seems that some laws are made not for the welfare/protection of the vulnerable but rather to satisfy selfish desires

  8. "For the past 30 years Polanski has been shut out of American films or films made where America has an extradition treaty. No higher price can ever have been paid for a smaller amount of pleasure."

    Um… what? His life over the last 30 years has not been a punishment. For one, it was largely in France, a country with a standard of living as high or higher than that of the US. His exile was self-imposed – rather than face the judicial system (which, by the author's account, should have quickly released him anyway, after less than a couple months in jail), he fled. I really don't think a safe, happy life in France is the highest price he could pay, or even much of a payment at all.

  9. Judges do not make plea deals, moron. Prosecutors make "deals" but all they can promise to do is recommend a lighter sentence and drop more serious charges. The judge has complete impunity on sentencing (within the guidelines, of course) and would never have been the slightest bit involved in the plea deal. Polanski fled because he knew no impropriety had been committed – if it had been he could appeal/get the judge in trouble.

    No, actually. Judges do not make plea deals. Prosecutors make "deals" but all they can promise to do is recommend a lighter sentence and drop more serious charges. The judge has complete impunity on sentencing (within the guidelines, of course) and would never have been the slightest bit involved in the plea deal. Polanski fled because he knew no impropriety had been committed – if it had been he could appeal or get the judge in trouble.

  10. No, actually. Judges do not make plea deals. Prosecutors make "deals" but all they can promise to do is recommend a lighter sentence and drop more serious charges. The judge has complete impunity on sentencing (within the guidelines, of course) and would never have been the slightest bit involved in the plea deal. Polanski fled because he knew no impropriety had been committed – if it had been he could appeal or get the judge in trouble.

  11. I cannot believe a woman wrote this, shocking. What happened would have been considered rape regardless of the girl's age. No means no.

    • You think men care less about justice than women?

      Tell that to the family of the next police officer who dies in the line of duty.

  12. In some countries, such as Yemen, girls can be married as young as 6, and intercourse is permitted from age 9, as allowed by the precedent of Aiesha. Its legal there, but that doesn’t make it right, and its amazing a woman writer would imply that such oppression elsewhere in world justifies what was abuse of a minor by Polanski.

    He used alcohol and drugs, and his power: not just as an adult, but as a director who could help the girl and her mother’s careers (that alone is a betrayal of an adults responsibility to children). And for heavan’s sakes, he sodimised her, a 13 year old girl! Barbara Amiel, your moral compass is out-of-whack if you think that’s okay, or that self imposed exile in France is punishment enough. Poor guy, stranded on the Riviera! Such harhness!…Gitmo it ain’t.

    What he did was wrong and illegal by any measure. Polanski got a light punishment, but he didn’t want to put up with the inconvenience of even that. Its about time he acted like a man and paid his dues like any other offender should.

  13. Just when I think there might be hope to care what B. Amiel has to say, she pretty much seals the deal with something like this.

    Even though she had some drug and sexual experience, for Polanski to take a young girl he had met only once before into a house and give her alcohol and even the smallest dose of medication was insanely stupid. And normally a 13-year-old would refuse the invitation. But this was Hollywood, he was a star director, she a would-be actress and daughter of a sometime actress, and so she went.

    She was thirteen years old. She was thirteen years old. SHE WAS THIRTEEN YEARS OLD!!!!!!

    The definition of childhood depends on the culture. Samantha was underage in California but not in South Korea or Spain.

    They were in California. They were in California. THEY WERE IN CALIFORNIA!!!!!!

    Even so, it is still a shock when such intellectual muscle as Wall Street Journal drama critic Terry Teachout disregard judicial shortcomings to emerge in print with the reflex lock-him-up rant.

    A guilty man fled the country before sentencing. A guilty man fled the country before sentencing. A GUILTY MAN FLED THE COUNTRY BEFORE SENTENCING!!!!!!

    No higher price can ever have been paid for a smaller amount of pleasure.

    Not only are you not done blaming the victim, you are now completely ignoring the victim. No higher price paid? Ask the teenaged sodomized rape victim weakened by having been drugged by the rapist. Ask her parents. Ask her family. No higher price? This just stinks.

    But let's pretend that discussion on Polanski can yield to rational consideration…

    Anytime you want to start with the rational consideration, madam, go right ahead.

    Jennifer, above, chides you for, as a woman of all people, failing to get it. Sorry, ladies, you may not claim some monopoly over decency, common sense, and the rule of law. ALL HUMAN beings may share in the outrage this rapist has perpetrated.

  14. And another thing.

    You are intimately aware of how someone "mans up" to face the US justice system. You face the charges. You defend yourself. If you feel you've been wronged, you appeal. If found guilty, you do the time all the while endeavouring to continue to defend yourself.

    What you do NOT do, is run away and hide.

    I followed Mark Steyn's blow-by-blow of a certain high-profile trial, and I read many other news accounts, and I could not shake the idea that an innocent man may be presently locked up for the non-crime of being an arrogant rich man with a, um, high-maintenance spouse. I have great admiration for the man who would do the time while continuing to try to clear his name. That his spouse might now suggest that it is somehow alright to sneak out of the country and whine "no fair!" from underneath a protective French skirt, frankly, demeans the honourable route chosen by the (potentially wrongly) incarcerated.

    And the shame I heap on you for all that STILL pales in comparison to the shameful whoopigoldbergian commentary I fisked just above.

    • I agree, Conrad Black is a man with the dignity and integrity to fight his conviction for what is unquestionably a far less serious crime, and was punished with a far heavier sentence. Polanski is a snail in comparison.

    • I agree, Conrad Black is a man with the dignity and integrity to fight what his conviction for what is unquestionably a far less serious crime, and was punished with a far heavier sentence. Polanski is a snail in comparison.

  15. Every time I read an article in support of Polanski, I am dumb-founded at the lack of any credible reason to support his flee from justice. What I do see are a lot of excuses for a middle aged man drugging and raping an adolescent. It is not a rant to suggest that we should uphold justice, and that Hollywood directors are subject to it, along with the rest of us.

    No higher price can ever have been paid for a smaller amount of pleasure.
    What is that? What kind of contorted logic places, on the scales of justice, the perpetrator's pleasure while committing the crime, and suggests that being a fugitive is punishment enough?

    • Indeed. I was struck by that line about pleasure and payment too. Amiel makes it sound as though raping a minor is merely an expensive hobby.

  16. While I am not a big believer in anecdotal evidence, I have noticed a high level of hypocrisy from my own high school education. I attended a Catholic school for all but my final year of high school, when I attended a public school. The sexual abuse of children in the public school was shocking and I have never heard of any such abuse in the Catholic school. There is a very bad disconnect in the public media that fails to show this as a widespread problem.

  17. Here are the undisputed facts:
    (1) Polanski had sex with a minor.
    (2) Polanski fed the minor a narcotic while seducing her.
    (3) Polanski fled the country rather than face trial.

    Here is the one question that matters:
    "How should any ordinary joe be treated by the law given these facts?"

    And here is the answer:
    "He should be arrested, tried, convicted, and jailed."

    If you believe that justice is blind, you can't argue that Polanski should go free unless you can show that any other man in the same legal situation should also go free. Items like his various hardships, his career, his marriage, the victim's forgiveness, the victim's prior sexual or drug history, the definition of childhood in other countries, and the treatment he can expect in prison are all irrelevant. Frankly I am disappointed that Amiel even brought them up.

  18. To Eric..
    1.THIS GIRL WAS ONLY 13!!!!
    2. POLANSKI KNEW IT WAS ILLEGAL!!!
    3. A 13 YEAR OLD CANNOT "CONSENT" UNDER THE LAW
    4. IT DOESN'T MATTER SHE WAS A VIRGIN OR NOT!!!
    5. POLANSKI RAN BECAUSE HE DIDN'T FEEL LIKE FACING PUNISHMENT FOR HIS ACTIONS

  19. To further add,

    6. She could have DIED from alcohol and drugs
    7. They dropped the charges to spare the kid the embarrassment of testifying

  20. There was a civil suit brought against Polanski by the girl, which Polanski lost. (make you think of OJ?) So, the case did go to trial and the testimony of the girl, which you can find online, stated that she was indeed forced to have sex against her will. Furthermore, Polanski plied her with drugs and alcohol. The case against Polanksi is not a technicality of the law where there was consent but just an inconvenient matter of age. Whether the victim was 13 or 30, this was a sexual assault, all the more egregious because she was a child.

    When money and position get you anything you want, it takes more and more to get that same old hit of excitement. Obviously for Polanski raping children was just another swig from the old thrill bottle.

  21. Are you high?

    How would a film festival ever possibly not feel safe at a film festival in case of arrest unless they had been convicted of a serious crime?

    And he didn't pay a price for a "small amount of pleasure", he should pay a price for the amount of suffering and pain caused by the crime he committed.

    What in the name bacon are you on about?

  22. Barbara, you're so right. How dare the peasants persecute such a wonderful person. After all, he only raped a child. Aristocrats have been doing that for centuries without complaint. It's just like that poor businessman who got jailed for stealing millions, while his social climbing gold digging wife had to reduce herself to writing pathetic and feeble magazine columns. Surely people like that deserve a massive government bailout — all the rest of them got one. Since when did people get the ridiculous idea that laws and rules apply to people like that? Scandalous, that's what I say.

  23. Barbara, you're so right. How dare the peasants persecute such a wonderful person. After all, he only raped a child. Aristocrats have been doing that for centuries without complaint. It's just like that poor businessman who got jailed for stealing millions, while his social climbing gold digging wife had to reduce herself to writing pathetic and feeble magazine columns. Surely people like that deserve a massive government bailout — all the rest of them got one. Since when did people get the ridiculous idea that laws and rules apply to the priviledged few? Scandalous, that's what I say.

  24. I see.

    So if one disagrees with the ruling of a judge in a court of law, it's okay to flee to another country so you don't have to face justice that you disagree with.

  25. The self-appointed elite really do feel they are special and above the law for the unwashed. He sodomized a thirteen year old–let him become some big apes new bride in a jail cell. He's from Hollywood–he'll probably like it. To suggest he shouldn't be convicted for his crimes is lunacy beyond the extreme. The fact the girl is 'willing' to forgive is meaningless–this is a criminal case and she has already been paid off.

  26. Wow- I hadn't thought of this angle. Great. Why didn't I think that our values and norms are subjective and that people should never be held accountable for their infractions of the values and norms we hold dear because somewhere in the world someone might have different ones. Added to that I was shortsighted enough to overlook his Jewish roots. How remiss of me? Drat, I have to hit myself. Oh and then why did I not think to blame the promiscious thirteen year old girl. I know she is not thirteen any more now she is a staid married woman who has forgiven her rapist, sorry enabler, and she has been paid by the poor, troubled reformed gentleman, sorry victim of the Holocaust. i will never think in such a linear way again.
    Although I must ask, just in case my thoughts turn out to be chronically linear, please tell me when our norms and values are about to switch gears so I can know to reserve Judgement on pedophiles or the other scourge of our civilization.

  27. Barb, I have always felt sympathetic to your husband's predicament and his attempts to clear his name. But this is too much- either you are going senile, or your hatred for the american justice system has pulled the blinders over your eyes. Or perhaps it is true that your kind believes the laws should be different for "high society". What awful comparisons you make in this article. Stop writing.

  28. Barabara, I always disagreed with you, but here you're right on. Listen to all those two-bit moralizers out there who think in superior simplicities. Hit them, Barb, hit them. Maybe they'll wake up and actually take this case in a serious way, instead of behaving like a loathesome lynch mob.

  29. A mouth piece for those who believe they are more important and special than the rest of us. All those laws and stuff were created, in their World, merely to contain US. Applying those rules to THEM is just….uncouth.

    Amiel, before you spew thinking that in Canada you have an audience that might agree with your elitist poppycock you may want to consider that a mighty proportion of our population is descended from the same people who lined up the "special" people and put them to a guillotine to help establish equality of justice and the Age of Enlightenment by doing so.

    Next time you decide that in Canada you may have an audience that is receptive – reconsider.

    And that is just the beginning of what is wrong with your special-pedophiles defense. All you really prove is that for a jolly atta-girl from your "peers" you are willing to defend anything.

  30. Amiel is a mouth piece for those who believe they are more important and special than the rest of us. All those laws and stuff were created, in their World, merely to contain us amoungst the hoi polloi. Applying those rules to THEM is just….uncouth.

    Amiel, before you spew thinking that in Canada you have an audience that might agree with your elitist poppycock you may want to consider that a mighty proportion of our population is descended from the same people who lined up the "special" people and put them to a guillotine to help establish equality of justice and the Age of Enlightenment by doing so.

    Next time you decide that in Canada you may have an audience that is receptive – reconsider.

    And that is just the beginning of what is wrong with your special-pedophiles defense. All you really prove is that for a jolly atta-girl from your "peers" you are willing to defend anything.

  31. Amiel is a mouth piece for those who believe they are more important and special than the rest of us. All those laws and stuff were created, in their World, merely to contain US. Applying those rules to THEM is just….uncouth.

    Amiel, before you spew thinking that in Canada you have an audience that might agree with your elitist poppycock you may want to consider that a mighty proportion of our population is descended from the same people who lined up the "special" people and put them to a guillotine to help establish equality of justice and the Age of Enlightenment by doing so.

    Next time you decide that in Canada you may have an audience that is receptive – reconsider.

    And that is just the beginning of what is wrong with your special-pedophiles defense. All you really prove is that for a jolly atta-girl from your "peers" you are willing to defend anything.

  32. Amiel is a mouth piece for those who believe they are more important and special than the rest of us. All those laws and stuff were created, in their World, merely to contain us amoungst the hoi polloi. Applying those rules to THEM is just….uncouth.

    Amiel, before you spew for elitist propaganda thinking that in Canada you have an audience that might agree with your elitist poppycock you may want to consider that a mighty proportion of our population is descended from the same people who lined up the "special" people and put them to a guillotine to help establish equality of justice and the Age of Enlightenment by doing so.

    Next time you decide that in Canada you may have an audience that is receptive – reconsider.

    And that is just the beginning of what is wrong with your special-pedophiles defense. All you really prove is that for a jolly atta-girl from your "peers" you are willing to defend anything. I'm sure they respect you for your as a great opinion whore on their behalf.

  33. This is such garbage.

    "had a sexual encounter in the home of actor Jack Nicholson, who was out of town. Only they know what happened"

    "but pleaded guilty to one count of intercourse with a minor. This agreement might have been the truth of what happened, though that is rarely the logic of a plea bargain"

    "How do we know this? Both the defence lawyer, Douglas Dalton, and the deputy district attorney, Roger Gunson, say so"

    OK, so this piece by Amiel is essentially saying:
    -if it makes Polanski look good, it must be true
    -if it makes Polanski look bad, it can't be trusted

    For the past 30 years Polanski has been shut out of American films or films made where America has an extradition treaty. No higher price can ever have been paid for a smaller amount of pleasure.

    That is the most out-of-touch, elitist and completely wrong-headed comment I've seen in a very long time.

  34. This is such garbage.

    "had a sexual encounter in the home of actor Jack Nicholson, who was out of town. Only they know what happened"

    "but pleaded guilty to one count of intercourse with a minor. This agreement might have been the truth of what happened, though that is rarely the logic of a plea bargain"

    "How do we know this? Both the defence lawyer, Douglas Dalton, and the deputy district attorney, Roger Gunson, say so"

    OK, so this piece by Amiel is essentially saying:
    -if it makes Polanski look good, it must be true
    -if it makes Polanski look bad, it can't be trusted

    For the past 30 years Polanski has been shut out of American films or films made where America has an extradition treaty. No higher price can ever have been paid for a smaller amount of pleasure.

    That is the most out-of-touch, elitist and completely wrong-headed comment I've seen in a very long time. Except for this one:

    The definition of childhood depends on the culture. Samantha was underage in California but not in South Korea or Spain

    Amiel completely misses the point. Polanski is a fugitive from justice, and this whole thing would have been over a long time ago if he had the dignity to face up to his crimes.

  35. Amiel is a mouth piece for those who believe they are more important and special than the rest of us. All those laws and stuff were created, in their World, merely to contain us amoungst the hoi polloi. Applying those rules to THEM is just….uncouth.

    Amiel, before you spew for elitist propaganda thinking that in Canada you have an audience that might agree with your elitist poppycock you may want to consider that a mighty proportion of our population is descended from the same people who lined up the "special" people and put them to a guillotine to help establish equality of justice and the Age of Enlightenment by doing so.

    Next time you decide that in Canada you may have an audience that is receptive – reconsider.

    And that is just the beginning of what is wrong with your special-pedophiles defense. All you really prove is that for a jolly atta-girl from your "peers" you are willing to defend anything. I'm sure they respect you as a great opinion whore on their behalf.

  36. as a 14 year old girl, I have consented to sexual experience. Is that illegal? what about georgia jagger, she's 17.. maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not sure how to think of my own position.

  37. I am relieved that most readers shared my sense of outrage over this article. Maybe Barbara is proud just to "encourage public debate". She is, however, a moron. This is just another example of the sickening uptick in what is called the cult of celebrity. So she rubbed elbows with Polanski at some point and found him charming and intelligent? She is not only a moron but also naiive and delusional. To defend this man is incomprehensible to me. To do what he did and flee the country would get anyone else in a huge amount of trouble. To say he has paid for his crimes is ridiculous. He is very talented and i even like some of his movies but so what? He has to be a real man and face the music.

  38. Barbara, I'm with you on this. It's about time someone pointed out what was unique about this case. This was the sexually libertine world of film, music and art people in the 1970s. And you could be quite sophisticated at 13 in this world. A lot of stuff went on that did not make the news. People did things they wouldn't do today, and in most cases no one was the worse off for it. The point is, this particular girl was not attacked and threatened — she was seduced — with the aid of alcohol and the infamous 1/2 Quaalude. The under-40s crowd just doesn't get this — this lifestyle was before their time — and so the moralizing, finger wagging and condemnation.

    So technically speaking, Polanski did commit a rape. And of course he shouldn't have been let off with nothing, but he should have served his few months in jail and maybe been fined or blackballed from Hollywood for a year, something like that. But the judge reneged on the plea deal. No wonder he fled. Who wouldn't have?

  39. These right-wing rants are typical of American "talk" radio. I'm sure most of these people deep down cheer the holocast.
    Sending Polanski back to the U.S. would be a crime. After all America, once the proud home of lynching black people and now home to gitmo and torture is no place to send Polanski or anyone.

  40. I like a lot of Amiel's other writing but defending the rape of a child is disgusting. Even if we argued that adolescents can form consent, there was none in this case because the girl was drugged.

  41. If anyone thinks 42 days of prison then 32yrs of exile and subsequent jail time now ensued is not punishment, they are high! I praise Barbara for helping to put Romans case in proper context. She never stated that what he did was right or not wrong, simply that the sentence has already more then served the crime. The fact that the victim even thinks this speaks volumes about Barbara being right and not these fanatics lashing out against her. Anyone that thinks Polanski's exile has not greatly affected his career and finances adversely, is delusional! I think all this backlash has only proven Barbara to be just in her fear of "chomo" bashing. It would be a great loss to the world and tragedy if Roman Polanski were to die in a U.S prison and I highly doubt anyone has had to deal with near the adversity he has had to face in his lifetime. While this does not excuse his conduct, until you have walked a mile in a mans shoes, you have no right to judge him, never mind persecute him for life!

  42. Polanski is a pervert but not a crook, dear Babs.

  43. Had to come back and look since this wretchedness is still ongoing.

    And I see someone used the "he's been punished enough" argument.

    I LOVE that one.

    Please punish me with a villa to live in in Europe for 30 years. While people pile a load of worship for my stupid movies on me, as if movies are life changing events. And I attend red carpet events where stupid people try to give me everything from their children to opportunities.

    Seriously. "Punishment." The poor thing. I cannot imagine how difficult his life has been.

    Just so you know, the guy gave an interview in Playboy where he talked about how he's screwed other young teenagers, and how all you guys want it. Apparently in his "punishment" he just thinks its because everyone is jealous of him raping young teens.

    Please, if I ever have to go to jail for a crime can I have you to define my stay. I think I've suffered enough, and I want gold toilets and a series of pretty pool boys. The suffering I do for my mistakes. Thanks.

  44. Polanski is a pedophile and possibly a sociopath. Since when do we not prosecute pedophiles?

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