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David Poland

By David Poland

Polanski Intervention

Roman Polanski is a brilliant director.
Roman Polanski has suffered great life tragedies of the type that often destroy people.
Roman Polanski is a bit of a coward.
Roman Polanski is in custody.
It kind of strikes me like an intervention. After years of self-imposed exile from the United States, Polanski has been dancing around coming back to face the music for years now. The exposure of misconduct by the judge – mostly suggested before Marina Zenovich’s documentary, but certainly given focus by the doc – and the victim’s active forgiveness of the man have suggested that he has a good chance of looking at little more than time served and perhaps, probation, as a price.
Because, ahem… he did fuck a little girl.
Sorry for the graphic language… but as brilliant as the man is, we should all keep in mind, no matter how much we now blame her mother, the girl herself, or the judge… no matter how forgiving the now-grown-woman is… a mature, aware man gave an underage girls drugs and had sex with her… and whether she wanted it (the drugs or the sex) or not, not many of us would be okay with that if it was our daughter or loved one in that position.
And to play The Devli’s advocate, is a life of freedom in Europe really such a severe punishment?
Of course, I have no problem with people feeling that enough time has passed, that his life has faced a limitation here, and that he is now being persecuted and not prosecuted. And I have no problem with people who disagree. What I feel personally… not the point.
But it seems like Polanski facing the music, whatever the legal tune, has been a long time coming… even just measuring the 7 years since The Pianist. And now, the hand of fate has reached him in a place he thought was safe, Switzerland, and it’s the LA DA’s move.
Finally, I must say, if the US does not demand extradition of the man in this situation, then the charges must be dropped fully. Holding him on a string of the threat of prosecution is not right if the government does not feel strongly enough to prosecute. So the next step is coming.
I suspect that Polanski will be in front of an LA judge by late this week. And if he is not, time to cut him loose. Either way, this should be the moment of resolution in this long, sad, very human story.

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36 Responses to “Polanski Intervention”

  1. Blackcloud says:

    Typical Swiss, still persecuting Holocaust victims after all these years.

  2. The Pope says:

    There’s a great line in Apocalypse Now… “The bullshit piled up so fast in Vietnam, you needed wings to stay above it.”
    So, let’s put on our seat-belts and get ready for take-off because there is going to be some really silly stuff flying around here real soon.
    Personally, I think justice should now run its course. Or to use another quote, “Let justice be served, though the heavens fall.”

  3. This whole thing has been dragged out sooo long, I’m completely sick of it. Yes, he made a serious, serrrious error and committed a gross act. But the guy was screwed up in the head after his pregnant wife was murdered. Plus, as alluded to, the mother of that girl should have had negligence charges pressed against her. Same with those Michael Jackson “victim” parents.
    Plus, and again, I have a daughter and think what Polanski did was disgusting, but does he really need to be chased around for 30+ years to make some kind of legal ammends? How much money has been spent to bring him to “justice??”

  4. chris says:

    The mother’s negligence has absolutely nothing to do with Polanski’s decision to (statutory) rape her daughter.

  5. Edward Havens says:

    This arrest isn’t about the rape or how badly the case may have been handled. He fled. Even if a new judge completely throws out the rape case tomorrow, he still has to answer for fleeing the country in the middle of a trial.

  6. leahnz says:

    “we should all keep in mind, no matter how much we now blame….the girl herself…”
    bloody hell, DP, did you just write that?
    WE now blame the girl herself? who exactly is WE? anyone who blames a silly 13-yr-old child for what polanski, a grown man in a position of power, authority and responsibility, did to her is fucked up in the head along the same lines as roman himself

  7. tfresca says:

    IIR he didn’t leave the country he just didn’t come back. He was on some kind of probation and got violated because his picture got snapped with a hot young chick in a bar in Europe.

  8. The Big Perm says:

    I was just reading Jeff Well’s site. Sounds like he sort of blames the girl.

  9. David Poland says:

    Leah… I don’t blame the girl… but the woman she now is takes more than her share of responsibility… I was trying to speak to that.
    The whole thing does speak to the issues of how responsibility is considered. Can an underage child CHOSE a sexual tryst with a much older person and ever have it considered consensual? How much responsibility does a parent have in a situation like this? When a someone is a less powerful position chooses/agrees to take anything that interferes with their rational choice, is the more powerful person always and fully responsible?
    Different people will draw the lines differently.
    I don’t have any sympathy for Polanski here. And I think that people who roll their eyes about it are either not thinking too hard about the reality of a 30something man fucking a 14 year old that he gave a ‘lude to up the ass before sending her home… or have an interest in having the freedom to repeat Polanski’s behavior. If some director did this to my niece when she was 14, he would suffer legally and/or extra-legally. I can’t be sure that I would kill him. But if my niece was seriously damaged emotionally… I would consider committing a variety of sins in her name. And I don’t believe that it is morally acceptable for me to table that reaction when it is “some girl” and not my family.
    On the other hand, it has been decades and the girl became a woman who does not seem crazy and is aggressively forgiving.
    It’s difficult.
    On the other hand, the notion that his talent is so great that he deserves to walk is a deeply fucked up idea, in my opinion. To beat the drum too loudly, would The Holocaust be okay if Hitler was a better painter?
    Of course, I am still unhappy that The Academy awarded Kazan.

  10. Exactly, DP. What Kazan did hurt way more people than what Polanski did. But, we’ve never copped to it as a nation and it’s way easier to look at a one off as a reason to destroy someone.
    Plus, if you’ve seen the doc on Polanski, he was going to get railroaded and lose. Had he been getting fair treatment and fled, I’d sing a different tune. But, he was getting hosed and bailed and, well, yeah.

  11. leahnz says:

    “The whole thing does speak to the issues of how responsibility is considered. Can an underage child CHOSE a sexual tryst with a much older person and ever have it considered consensual?”
    well, i’m glad you elaborated on your thoughts there but re: the statement above, the answer is a crystal clear unequivocal NO. ESPECIALLY when the child in question has been given drugs. that this question is even raised is mental.
    13-yr-olds are children. 13-yr-old girls are idiots, that is their job, they have NO IDEA what they are doing. their brains are not even close to being fully developed (the frontal cortex – the decision-making centre of the brain – is almost non-existent in young teens and doesn’t develop fully until about age 20). 13-yr-olds do NOT have a clear understanding of sexuality or the consequences of sexuality and sex. they are particularly vulnerable to alcohol/drugs, and not capable of hard decision-making at the very best, most clear-headed of times.
    that is why there is such a thing as adult responsibility. that is why there is such a thing as statutory rape. that is why people who have sex with children are reprehensible, and called ‘pedophiles’.
    the responsibility lies with the adult and the adult alone. polanski was a gown man who know better, and he came up woefully, disgustingly lacking in the worst possible – and very likely criminal – way. i’m sick of people making excuses for him. i have no desire to see him in prison, but it would be nice to have this fucked-up ‘but can’t the child be held just a little responsible?’ notion put to bed once and for all for the absolute rubbish it is. sickening.

  12. Wrecktum says:

    Hey, I’m too young to have any memory or interest in these sordid events. Certainly not enough interest to read books on it or see movies about it. The only question I’ve ever had (and I haven’t seen the answer for) is did Polanski know she was 13?

  13. bulldog68 says:

    As a father of three daughters ages 8,6 & 4, the notion of a man of 30something doing this vile and disgusting thing to any of them is beyond forgiveness for me, drugging them up makes it even worse. It shows not only foresight and planning to commit such a despicable act, it shows a total lack of care and compassion for the innocence and well being of another human being.
    As a confirmed bachelor, many years ago before I got married, and chasing every skirt I could find, the mere thought of being with a minor was and is just as depraved. I could never think of sex with a 13 year old while being a man of the world, and though my association with drugs was limited to a joint every now and then, the thought of introducing any type of narcotic to a minor is worthy of jail.
    No matter how you cut it, Polanski should atone for what he did. Leahnz is 110% correct.

  14. Arnzilla says:

    “gave a ‘lude to up the ass?”
    Is that the cute hipster version of drugging a child (one who thought oral sex was called “cuddliness”) then forcing his penis into her anus?
    Wrecktum, Polanski said in his book that he knew that she was 13.

  15. leahnz says:

    you know, until now i’ve never read geimer’s actual testimony (i’d just seen it paraphrased) because the thought of it made me a bit nauseous. a friend emailed it to me so i finally waded in.
    polanki is a child rapist, and an anal rapist at that. 45 days in jail? yeah, that’s justice. poor, misunderstood fella.
    and btw, forgiveness is about the victim trying to move on with his/her life, it has nothing to do with the perpetrator or justice being served

  16. ana bee says:

    might want to watch this:
    (good documentary, everything else aside)
    i can’t figure out if he ever was actually CONVICTED of rape?

  17. DarienStyles says:

    It’s a relief to see that not everyone is acting as if Roman Polanski is a victim. Jeff Wells and Patrick Goldstein’s views on this are highly disturbing. It made me nauseous.
    What has Roman Polanski suffered? Living in Europe and continuing a successful career there is not my idea of punishment. Had this been John Doe, he’d still be doing time in prison, and no one would be defending the man. I’m glad that the public is not taking the pity bait from commenters and elitists, who act as if Roman Polanski is the victim and Samantha Geimer is some kind of teen jezebel.

  18. christian says:

    Jeff Wells is a creep. The kind of guy who would ask a director to send him nude caps of an actress isn’t on any high moral ground. He’s turned his site into a swamp.

  19. I wanted to add that I think if Polanski could have been guaranteed a FAIR trial or be given one now, he should have served time.

  20. leahnz says:

    there was no need for a ‘fair trial’ because there was no trial. basically polanski was charged with rape, plead down (took the DA’s offered plea bargain) with a guilty plea to what is essentially statutory rape — so he was being let off the hook TO BEGIN WITH — heard judge roy bean was gonna throw the book at the him at the SENTENSING hearing and hit the road, jack
    (and ana bee, ‘wanted and desired’ is an absolute one-eyed fawning TRAVESTY of a ‘documentary’, anyone who uses that as their moral compass re: polanski is a dipshit)

  21. leahnz says:

    sorry, ‘sentencing’ hearing, typing and posting too fast

  22. Wrecktum says:

    I know Poland doesn’t like Wells mentioned around here, but I gotta agree…his pious ramblings about this case are shocking and actually made me sick.
    I’m thinking twice about visiting his site anymore.

  23. leah-
    in all honesty, your outrage over the Polanski thing is BAFFLING. As is well said on Glenn Kenny’s blog, there are soooooooo many more atrocities in the world but people like you are just hell bent on seeing Polanski get it. The guy fucked up big time and was not going to get a fair trial and bailed. A bad situation all around.
    But Polanski has to have some mental issues stemming from WW2 Nazi evading and the murder of his pregnant wife. Yet people really want to see him burn for what he did and I just don’t get why. But, whatever…

  24. The Big Perm says:

    Most criminals have mental issues. Most molesters were also molested. Do you stop prosecuting crimes due to past sad incidents? Manson had a shitty childhood, do you think Polanski weeps for him rotting in prison?
    Jeff Wells is sort of the film geek who’s kind of creepy…in that FILM TRUMPS ALL. Like he was admitting, if this was Michael Bay, Wells would have much less forgiveness. And he has none for Michael Jackson (never convicted, unlike Polanksi). If it was some fat black dude, then FORGET Wells having his back.

  25. christian says:

    So you’re not allowed to opine within the cultural dialogue? It’s a case that actually reveals much about society’s treatment of who is who. It’s a woman’s issue because you have Wells trying to justify shit with his weird “she’s not a little girl like Dorothy Gale” and plus it was the 70’s!
    I think it’s a difficult issue and I have empathy for Polanski’s tragic history. He is an Artist, and seems like a great guy. I’m glad Geimer has moved on and I hope Polanski gets a fair shake.

  26. leahnz says:

    WTF, don lewis, are you for real? maybe you should think for yourself instead of having glenn kenny, whoever he thinks he is, do it for you
    what do you mean by ‘people like me’? you mean, parents? decent people who are standing up for the girl instead of the rapist? one whom has served virtually no time for a rather heinous crime? with cockroaches crawling out of the woodwork now to defend/apologise for him now and blame the child for being drugged and sodomised?
    but i should just ‘let it slide’ because polanski has suffered/payed enough? i shouldn’t comment on this particular matter, the subject of which was posted on this blog by the blog owner, because of all the other tragedies and injustices in the world? that is utterly ridiculous and MAKES NO SENSE.
    but i should just shut the fuck up, huh? how dare i speak out about the injustice suffered by one child when thousands of other children are being harmed every day…
    but it was THE MOTHER’S FAULT! (she should have lost custody of her child at the very least); it was THE GIRL’S FAULT! it was THE JUDGE’S FAULT! It was THE HOLOCAUST’S FAULT! it was MANSON’S FAULT! maybe…it was actually POLANSKI’S FAULT and his alone, novel idea (read the transcript, it’s quite sickening). i already said clearly that i have no desire to see him in prison now, what purpose would that serve, so what is your problem? but it should all just quietly go away because he is (or was) a great director of film?
    he needs to man up and take responsibility for what he did instead of being a coward. but i honestly doubt that will ever happen — in his deluded mind he’s always seen what he did as a consensual encounter rather than what it was. which is quite pathetic. being pathetic is the only thing he deserves pity for.
    (and hey, there’s nothing like surviving the holocaust and the grief of having your wife and unborn child butchered by a madman that says, “i need a child to drug, have sex with and sodomise while she’s scared shitless, all the while asking her unbelievably creepy questions like ‘have you had your first period yet?” that’s the ticket)
    and finally, i didn’t make this up:
    (as for gaimer, she has stated that the only way it will ever be truly over for her and her family is for polanski to return to the US and face the music. maybe she can really get some closure now, because perhaps people need reminding that SHE was the victim in all this, not roman polanski)

  27. ManWithNoName says:

    Couldn’t agree more, leah! Didn’t Glenn Kenny come in here a few weeks ago and make a huge deal about something DP said, and act all high and mighty about it? Well, if he was ever right about anything, I automatically discount his opinion from now on for putting forth such a morally bankrupt response to the situation. There are other atrocities in the world, so why are we worrying about this? Seriously?? That’s your response??
    Rational people recognize that there are many atrocities in the world, and want to see all of them addressed. Just because one is ignored doesn’t make the other less of an atrocity.

  28. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    I’ll take a page from Glen Kennys stained book of life and just add “Don’t ever be in the same room as me” to Don Lewis.
    I don’t see eye to eye with Leahnz on much but I’ll gladly hold her hand while she stomps your nuts to paste, you fucking cretinous waste of skin and bone.

  29. Joe Leydon says:

    At the risk of sounding like a moral relativist: How many folks who want to throw the book at Polanski also wish John Landis would have served hard time?

  30. jeffmcm says:

    Wow, am I glad I haven’t been a part of this nut-stomping brouhaha.

  31. ManWithNoName says:

    I need to read more about the accident and subsequent trial to give you a definitive answer. Not sure the two cases are exactly comparable, but if Landis broke laws, he should have been prosecuted and, if found guilty, punished. From what I read, he was acquitted, however. In any case, I don’t believe Landis had the intent to kill anyone. Polanski, from the trial transcript, apparently had the intent to sodomize a 13-year-old who said “no.”

  32. Lota says:

    The Judge in the original case was participating in judicial misconduct etc and That is what should have been stressed by Defense team of Polanski, he did not have adequate defense at first it seemed. There is no question the judge would have been removed under appeal–I have volunteered in dozens of cases and I can;t tell you how many judges & DA/SA get removed and plenty of them indicted for corruption! You appeal–and he had enough friends with $$ to get the best team and he would have won.
    the defense team could have re-negotiated his situation–there’s no way a heavy sentencing would have been upheld. Leaving the country…bad move, and he never came to terms with it or he would have been back.
    ANyone else who gets found out re. law-breaking etc 20-30 y after the fact still must follow due process of law, thank goodness for the victims’ sakes.
    re. the “victim” wanting to let it go
    If the courts listened to the “wishes” of victims to “let things go” no criminals would ever be brought to justice–most participants in violence-related crimes use multiple means to try to make their victims feel somehow complicit in the offense and if working on their minds doesn’t succeed in this way, they use coercion and fear. Victims of assault don;t want to relive it again.
    I think ROman Polanski is a very gifted person in cinema, but he still didn;t finish what he started.
    The Mother of the girl should have been charged as well for child endangerment, what a complete asshole.
    RP should go back voluntarily without extradition, have his day, then go pick up garbage on the highway with the rest of the Celebs for his 6 weeks. ANyone who thinks he will do hard time is on crack. CHEAP CRACK.
    In either case the victim was never properly served justice–SHE is the real victim here.
    If I were the Mom, I would have waited maybe 2 years then bought me a ticket to Europe, stalked him then taken it out on his body stripe for stripe, but that’s just me and my blue collar inner city hillbilly. There would be no court solution that would satisfy me as a parent.
    Then again, if I were the Mom I would have never let a underage child be alone with anyone in that non-professional setting.
    [parts of this post posted elsewhere i.e. self-plagiarized]

  33. Lota says:

    don’t know Landis has to do with RP–Landis was charged with invol manslaughter & the child labor laws were an issue.
    if anyhting people have made comparisons to Salva (and he hardly got a severe sentence despite what he did), although each case is unique.
    @ Leah…from awhile back…working with an artist as in ‘fine artist’ i.e. inking, in NZ, not in production design.
    If I get down to NZ in the next 12 months as planned for mtgs etc you can take me fishing in the mountains. I hope there’s fish I can eat and I can see the All Blacks dance around.

  34. IOIOIOI says:

    If Polanski gave two shits about his legacy. If he gave two shits about removing this stigma from his life and career. He would have dealt with this years ago.
    If he fights this again. He should just go ahead and jump in the grave, because that’s where this all leads. It all leads with him dying and the first words uttered after the announcement of his death being; “… ran from a rape case in the seventies.”
    You seldom get a chance to fix your legacy. I hope Polanski, for his sake, decides to fix it. Decided to accept his punishment, and spends the rest of his life in this country.

  35. Blackcloud says:

    “If the courts listened to the ‘wishes’ of victims to ‘let things go’ no criminals would ever be brought to justice . . .”
    Lota, thank you for talking sense. There’s been too little of it in this discussion. Well, actually, there has been plenty, but it’s all been drowned out by the overwhelming idiocy of the Polanski apologists. I’m looking at you, French government.

  36. leahnz says:

    JBD – i’m strangely touched, i think…
    lota – bonza, come on down (except to note i am THE worst fisherman…fisherwoman?…fishing person in the world, i’m cursed. but i do cook a mean snapper with a lemon/ginger/manuka honey glaze!)
    on topic: victims of sexual assault almost always blame themselves to some degree, and suffer profound shame and humiliation that makes the prospect of reliving it through the legal process that much more difficult, they just want it to go away; add to that anyone who spends time around children knows that they have a unique ability to blame themselves for all the bad things that happen to them at the hands of adults, that is their nature.
    talking to a psychologist mate of mine – now a crown solicitor who previously worked with victims of sexual abuse and assault most of her adult life – about all this, she had this to say: a man in his thirties who drugs, takes advantage of/sodomises a 13-yr-old and in the process says to her such things as, “have you had your first period yet?” is ‘presenting with symptoms typical of pedophilia’ (that’s the way she put it)

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

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“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon