L’Affaire Polanski September 28, 2009Posted by Dwight Furrow in Criminal Justice, Current Events, Dwight Furrow's Posts.
Tags: Roman Polanski arrest
One of my pet peeves is the widely held belief that the wealthy and talented are morally virtuous because they are wealthy and talented. This seems to be the underlying assumption behind much of Ayn Rand’s work. It is also the assumption driving the noisy approval of right wing tea-partiers for Wall St. bankers with blood on their hands, who are now getting rich by leveraging the public’s money.
Apparently, the French have their own version of this nonsense
Film director Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland on charges of fleeing sentencing for the rape of a 13 yr. old girl in Los Angeles 31 years ago.
Polanski, 76, was arrested at the Zurich airport Saturday night by Swiss authorities acting at the request of the Los Angeles district attorney’s office. Prosecutors there had learned of the Oscar-winning director’s plans to receive an honor at a film festival, and passed a request through the U.S. Justice Department.
The arrest has outraged the French, who have been harboring Polanski for the past 31 years.
“To see him thrown to the lions and put in prison because of ancient history — and as he was traveling to an event honoring him — is absolutely horrifying,” French Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand said after Polanski was arrested upon arrival in Switzerland to attend the Zurich Film Festival, where he was to receive a lifetime achievement award. “There’s an America we love and an America that scares us, and it’s that latter America that has just shown us its face.”
Please. “Thrown to the lions?”There is substantial evidence that he drugged and raped a 13 year old girl, a crime to which he confessed before escaping to Europe. How is he a victim?
There is also evidence of misconduct in the trial by the prosecutor and judge, but that is an argument for retrying the case, not letting Polanski go. The case cannot be retried without having him in custody.
If Polanski was an ordinary person he would have been behind bars for a very long time.
It is not only France that seems unduly friendly to child molesters. Some members of the press, who fancy themselves the arbiters of moral values, are busy trying to exonerate Polanski. Here is Patrick Goldstein of the LA Times:
I think Polanski has already paid a horrible, soul-wrenching price for the infamy surrounding his actions. The real tragedy is that he will always, till his death, be snubbed and stalked and confronted by people who think the price he has already paid isn’t enough.
What price? He has lived as a celebrity film maker in France for over 30 years.
And here is Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post:
There is evidence that Polanski did not know her real age. Polanski, who panicked and fled the U.S. during that trial, has been pursued by this case for 30 years, during which time he has never returned to America, has never returned to the United Kingdom., has avoided many other countries, and has never been convicted of anything else. He did commit a crime, but 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.
What trauma! He can’t visit Hollywood anymore where the young women apparently disguise themselves as tweens.
One omission from Applebaum’s sob story is that she is the wife of Radislaw Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister who is lobbying for the U.S. to drop the charges against Polanski, who was born in Poland.
As Mark Kleiman writes:
…in a well-functioning journalistic world, the egregious failure to disclose a direct conflict of interest would end her journalistic career. That world is not, however to be confused with the actual world.
This really is a tale of three cultures and their characteristic obsessions. If you’re wealthy and talented in the U.S. you can get away with economic crimes. If you’re wealthy and talented in France you can get away with sex crimes. If you’re a journalist, you operate in a moral-free zone where defense of celebrity is the coin of the realm and conflict of interest a qualification for employment.
For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com