Alex Blaze

Roman Polanski Gets Standing Ovation because He Raped a Girl

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 26, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Politics
Tags: award winning, France, rape, roman polanski

Last night Alberto turned on the TV for the first time this year to watch the Césars (the French Oscars). polanski-cesar.jpgI ignored it until they got to the Best Director award, which they gave to Roman Polanski. I didn't see Ghost-Writer, so I'm not going to say that the only reason he got the award was because of his legal problems this past year or that his movie was terrible or anything like that.

But he got a standing ovation, which no one else except for the honorary César winner got, and annoyingly thanked people for sticking with him while he was "en taule" ("in prison"), finishing his work. Of course, the taule he was referring to was his chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland, not a dormitory built for 70 but housing 200, with un-nutritious food, infrequent medical care, plenty of noise and distractions, and no technology with which to make a film. If he had finished his film in an actual prison, instead of a vacation home that he called prison, there might be something incredible there.

The elite knows that it takes real bravery to escape justice for several decades, real artistic dedication to work on a film from a vacation home in the Alps, and real character to rape a minor and then flee the country when faced with 90 days prison.

I told Alberto that if he wants to get his plays produced in the big theaters in Paris he might as well drug and rape a 13-year-old girl and then flee the country. It's not like these people are going to give a fuck about the girl.

For the record, I'm only referring to the rich people who were at Châtelet last night. The French people I know generally supported Polanski going to prison, or at least having to face a judge and having some sort of process for what he'd done. To me that was surprising considering how the French are more forgiving and empathetic then Americans are generally when it comes to criminal justice issues. No polling was actually done on the issue (one that kept on being cited was an unscientific online poll), but my guess is that most people either didn't know/care or thought that it should be up to a judge what happens to Polanski. Normal people think rape is bad and that it's one of the things the criminal justice system is supposed to punish people for, if the criminal justice system is really about deterring crime and not putting people deemed bad away to make the rest of us feel better.

The comments on the article linked at the top are coming down mostly against Polanski, especially since his film wasn't in French and few people had seen it. Here's a representative comment (translated by me):

La récompense de Polanski n'a d'autre but que de marquer le soutien de grande partie du cinéma français à cet homme. Apparemment ils se croient au dessus des lois et trouve inadmissible qu'on demande à l'un des leurs de rendre des compte à la justice. de plus, M. Polanski ose comparer son assignation à résidence à de "la taule". Il n'a donc aucun respect pour les détenus qui purgent leur peine dans des conditions abominables. Etre enfermé dans une résidence luxueuse de suisse en gardant contact avec l'extérieur n'est pas ce que j'appelle "faire de la taule".

The only reason they gave Polanski a prize was to show French cinema's support for this man. Apparently they think they're above the law and find it impermissible that one of their own has to face justice. Moreover, Mr. Polanski dared to compare living in his house to "jail." He has no respect for detainees who suffer in terrible conditions. Being enclosed in a luxurious residence in Switzerland, while keeping contact with the outside world, isn't what I'd call "going to jail."

But that didn't stop the literati, which is about as out-of-touch as the American cultural elite, from circling the wagons. Why, if someone like Roman Polanski could go to jail for rape, then that means that any of them could go to jail for rape! It reminds me of how American celebrity-journalists rallied around Bush Administration officials when Obama got into office, trying to prevent any sort of justice for war crimes that were committed.

One of the things I do like about people here is that they're less quick to blame and punish, but that doesn't mean that France has no blaming and no punishing going on.

Another thing I like is that people here are generally more aware of their own economic class background and the privileges and burdens it brings. And living in a country where police give bike riders fines for running red lights and can stop and ask anyone in the street for ID, they can tell that a man who has everyone standing and cheering for him because he was threatened with the possibility of paying for a crime even he admitted doing and who calls "prison" a house most people will never be able to afford, even for a vacation, is simply following in the tradition of other people who are too valuable to live by the same rules as everyone else.

Anyway, here's video that shows part of the standing ovation (around 0:33). I can't find better video of the Césars.


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It's just tribe mentality. Police, firemen cover for each other. So do artists.

Even where people agree that a crime is committed and needs punishes emphasizes punishing behavior rather than redressing the victim. Nobody ever gives a shit about what becomes of the victim.

On the contrary, even the infamous "blue code of silence" won't protect you if you cross that particular line. At most, police are irrationally reluctant to admit one of their own could be guilty of such a horrendous crime -- once they're convinced he's guilty, they'll hang him out to dry and then some.

No, I'm afraid the Hollywood elite really are the only group I've ever heard of who outright consider child rape to be an acceptable pastime.

But didn't the girl (now in her late 40's?)say "leave him alone"? Because she went to his party with the intention to have "some fun," and a possible early entry into show business? Like American marijuana laws, legal age of sexual consent in the US should be lowered and be more "realistic" with regards to what little girls want. On this matter, the French are way more mature.

According to her testimony, he gave her a quaalude and alcohol, held her down, and raped her after she said no several times. She was 13 at the time.

I don't know if she said "leave him alone" so much as "I've moved on." Which people have a right to do.

I do agree that the French are slightly better on age of consent laws - 16 across the board. In the US it depends on the state, and ranges from 14 (rarely and in some circumstances) to 18. It's not that much different.

Aubrey Haltom | February 27, 2011 1:14 PM

I've got mixed feelings on this one.
The victim did ask for the criminal case to be thrown out. And I think the actual quote from the victim's attorney was "Leave her alone".
The original transcripts detail rape by Polanski, if you accept the victim's version (which I don't find any reason not to). Polanski's version was slightly different, but still involved sexual activity with a minor.
And then there is Gore Vidal who claims to have been in the middle of the scandal, knowing all the people involved. Vidal alleges that the victim was actually "a hooker", not the innocent claimed by the media.
Polanski fled because the plea bargain he reached with the DA's office was going to be rejected by the judge. (which would have resulted in much more than 90 days of prison time.)
I think part of the support for Polanski has to do with the fact that there is some question as to why the LA DA's office would not go after Polanski for 30+ years, then suddenly arrest him. It could be seen as an arbitrary act by the prosecutor's office. Couple that with the victim's insistence of dropping the case (and her refusal to testify against Polanski - for whatever personal reasons) - and a lot of people thought this was not a valid course of action by the DA.
Or perhaps some people were just happy to see someone beat the American judicial system (shades of O.J. Simpson here...).

Manny Espinola | February 28, 2011 2:32 AM

I think this is more about American judicial vanity than justice. The people who were after Polanski for decades have invested so much of their lives on the case they don't want to look like chumps. It's like those prosecutors and judges who refuse to admit errors despite DNA evidence proving the men they sent to jail for decades were innocent.

I'll bet there's quite a few prisoners out there who'd love to trade him "prisons."

Dear Alex,

I would like to correct you on this one sentence:

Of course, the taule he was referring to was his chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland, not a dormitory built for 70 but housing 200, with un-nutritious food, infrequent medical care, plenty of noise and distractions, and no technology with which to make a film.

Absolutely false. Polanski was in Swiss jail for three months before being released to his chalet under house-arrest. He finished his film while he was still in jail. Granted, Swiss jail is much better than our inhumane, barbaric prison industrial complex, but it's still jail.

You are entitled to whatever opinion of Polanski you wish, but you are not entitled to your own facts. And frankly, I would expect better intelligence and better journalism from an LGBTQ website than from a typical tabloid blog. My hope is that, in the future, you will properly research your subjects before you write about them.

All of you make the mistake of thinking that Polanski referred to his Gstaad chalet when he mentioned "prison". Actually, after he was arrested he spent over 2 months in a real prison in Switzerland, and that's where the movie was finished. (people who worked with him on the movie confirm it). By the time Polanski was released into custody, 'Ghost Writer' had already been finished.

And secondly, where did you get that he had "held her down"? I read the girl's testimony more than once, and I watched interviews with her as an adult, and she has always sustained that he never used any physical force against her. She was scared and didn't know what to do, but she was not "held down". Also, her blood was never tested for either drugs or alcohol, so there's very little evidence.

Of course he committed a serious crime, but the case is much more complicated than you seem to think.

As for the standing ovation, I have no opinion. I don't care. After all, politicians like Ronald Reagan are seen as heroes by many people, so...

friday jones | February 28, 2011 4:29 AM

people, he pled guilty. His innocence was never a possibility. He fled the country while on bail awaiting sentencing for a crime to which he himself has admitted guilt. So who cares how "willing" she was? She was 13 years old and he fucked her. That's not right here, or in France, or anywhere in the civilized world. A 13-year-old is unable to give consent to sex with an adult, period, finale, end of story. Quit being rape apologists.

Nobody disputes that Polanski pleaded guilty, so I don't know what you're referring to by "rape apologists". Maybe you just want to censor our opinions and keep us from presenting the facts by calling us names. Yes, that must be it.

Get a life.

Oh, and BTW, the age of consent in Spain is 13 years old. So maybe you aren't really all that informed, just like Alex Blaze didn't bother to inform himself before he wrote the article at the top.

Ignorance is bliss, right?

From the names of commenters it seems that the majority of people supporting Polanski are male!

Paige Listerud | March 1, 2011 3:57 PM

The whole story of Roman Polanski raping Samantha Geimer when she was 13 at Jack Nicholson's home exposes the truly seedy and disturbing underbelly of Hollywood.

At 13, Samantha was a "model" for nude photographs, something that her mother did to break into the entertainment industry and was now pushing her daughter into for income. In short, it was child prostitution--or at the very minimum, child pornography. Samantha had already "posed" for other big-name friends and associates of Jack's. The shoot turned into rape, vaginal and anal rape, after Polanski plied her with Qaalude-laced champagne.

In the years after Polanski fled the US, Giemer was able to procure a cash settlement from him. As far as she is concerned, it's over. She thinks the media has done her more harm over this case than Polanski has and she would like any further publicity over the matter stopped. She wants everything to quiet down now so that she can go on with life with her family (she's a mother of three) in Hawaii.

But I think it suits several people, several famous and influential powerbrokers, to not have the case go forward or their names mentioned.

Child prostitution and rape has been going on in Hollywood for a long, long time. Fatty Arbuckle, anyone? And these kids get passed around between stars and directors and producers--and maybe even pushed into it by parents, all in the pursuit of fame or an entertainment career. Think about that when you watch the Oscars.

I would just like to respond to the comment by Paige Listerud above. Fatty Arbuckle was found not guilty after previous two mis-trials. So to mention his name in the same breath as saying "rape has been going on in Hollywood for a long, long time" is unfair to say the least.

friday jones | March 3, 2011 7:19 PM

Is Bilerico.Com in the habit of allowing rape victims to be named in order to defame them?