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  1. ShelbyWoo
    ShelbyWoo September 28, 2009 at 12:28 pm |

    He already plead guilty to the lesser charge of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor as part of a plea agreement…then he skipped the country. So, no need for a trial, we already know he’s guilty, he’s admitted as much.

  2. Jill
    Jill September 28, 2009 at 12:34 pm | *

    THANK YOU Little Light.

    And ShelbyWoo, the point of a trial isn’t just to figure out if someone is guilty. It’s also to determine an appropriate consequence for the acts. Polanski has not faced the consequences.

  3. Ben
    Ben September 28, 2009 at 12:51 pm |

    He plead guilty as part of a plea bargain, was ordered to spend 90 days in jail without being sentenced and was released after 42 days (let me repeat, he spent 42 days in prison without any sentence), then fled the country before his sentencing. A part of it is because his case was severely mishandled by the judge.

    I’m not defending his actions, but there’s more going on than people simply forgiving a rape because it was committed by someone who is rich and famous. I do agree that there’s probably an element of that as well.

    I encourage everyone to check out the documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired to learn more about how his trial was mishandled. It’s available on Netflix Watch Instantly.

  4. Felicity
    Felicity September 28, 2009 at 12:51 pm |

    You forgot the point that “he’s had a hard life.”

    People always have to drag his parents and his wife into this.

  5. peanutbutter
    peanutbutter September 28, 2009 at 12:53 pm |

    As a point of clarification, the statute of limitations has indeed run out for the original offense. What did NOT run out was the part where he skipped the country rather than submit to the sentencing. Fugitive from justice — no limitations. Stupid idiot — if he had served his sentence, this would have been over in five years instead of blowing up again forty years later.

    Should be interesting to see what happens. I’ll be shocked if he gets more than a slap on the wrists, but we’ll see.

  6. Felicity
    Felicity September 28, 2009 at 12:53 pm |

    Never mind! I didn’t see it. You hit it already.

  7. Ben
    Ben September 28, 2009 at 12:55 pm |

    I really hope, at the very least, this most recent arrest will bring this ordeal to an end so the victim can finally leave it behind her.

  8. Mkp
    Mkp September 28, 2009 at 1:36 pm |

    I also hate that so many of the media discussions are still saying “had sex with a 13-year-old girl.” “Having sex with” implies informed consent – no sex that a 13-year-old is having with an adult, especially when other substances are involved, is sex. It is rape. Say “allegedly raped” if you must, NPR, but can we at least acknowledge there’s no way this was consensual.

  9. Feministe » Monday Reader
    Feministe » Monday Reader September 28, 2009 at 1:54 pm |

    […] The always-fabulous Kate Harding also offers timly reminder that Roman Polanski raped a child. Like a lot of people, I like some of Polanski’s films. I think he’s talented. I recognize he’s had a tough life and I have sympathy for much of what he’s gone through. But he also committed a crime — a crime for which he has shown little remorse — and talent, age, celebrity and a sad backstory don’t give someone a free pass. Ann at Feministing offers a round-up of other Polanski posts. If you somehow missed it, make sure you also read Little Light’s take. […]

  10. mike
    mike September 28, 2009 at 2:23 pm |

    it’s not really “allegedly” on the Quaadludes is it? wasn’t stipulating to that actually happening part of his original plea deal? that we even use the word “allegedly,” which we afford to people pre-trial for a guy in a case where the facts are established and a plea was entered speaks to the deference he continues to be handed.

  11. Taylor
    Taylor September 28, 2009 at 3:48 pm |

    Amazing post. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

  12. Natalia
    Natalia September 28, 2009 at 3:52 pm |

    Thank you, LL.

  13. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub September 28, 2009 at 4:32 pm |

    Fuck yeah, THIS.

    LL, I’ve seen his defenders start complaining about lynch mobs and how we want to hang him high. Uh. . .whut?? Roman Polanski is a very wealthy, powerful WHITE guy. He’s in no danger of being lynched, and it’s an insult to the Black people who were terrorized, tortured, and murdered to equate this with lynching. (It’s also rather ridiculous to equate holding someone accountable for his actions with hanging him, but ZOMG! everytime you criticize a White d00d, the angels cry. Or some such shit.)

    I’m not defending his actions, but there’s more going on than people simply forgiving a rape because it was committed by someone who is rich and famous. I do agree that there’s probably an element of that as well.

    You’re right, there’s an element of that, and there’s also a strong element of rape apology. He had a hard life! He was traumatized by all the tragedy in his life (so are a lot of people, including women, but we don’t get a free pass for this shit). She was a slut, he and his defenders claim! He was set up! She was asking for it.! It was TOTES consensual–even though she was 13-years-old and he was forty-fucking-four. I mean, Jaysus, even the news reports–he had sex with a thirteen year old. Uh, no. You can’t legally have sex with a thirteen year old when you’re an adult. That is rape. FFS.

    And I’ll point out–when female schoolteachers fuck 13-year-old students (or even older students), they are charged with rape and they are jailed. I have no problem with that. Why the fuck does Polanski get a pass? Why is he such a special fucking snowflake? Is it his skin color, his maleness, or his wealth?

  14. Lauren
    Lauren September 28, 2009 at 6:40 pm | *

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for writing this. This case hits particularly close for me. You and Harding are on it.

  15. Nancy Green
    Nancy Green September 28, 2009 at 9:46 pm |

    to me the worse crime was the lazy and starstruck press that let Polanski define the terms. I was a young girl when this crime occurred and the message was that it’s no big deal if a guy can’t help taking advantage of a ‘lolita’.
    there’s no law of nature that says a filmmaker or any other creative person has to be ‘nice’. it’s taken thirty years, but finally people are calling rape for what it is.
    some of the contradictions in admitting all the sides of a famous person here–

  16. Roman Polanski Arrested on Saturday in Switzerland « The Gender Blender Blog

    […] Puzzle Activity Time. […]

  17. sonia
    sonia September 29, 2009 at 2:29 am |

    If you just look at it as rape because she was underage people’s responses from different countries can be very different because age of consent laws vary widely across the world and it is as low as 9 across most of the middle east. If you add the drugging to the case, I am not sure he pleaded guilty to that charge.

  18. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub September 29, 2009 at 7:46 am |

    Roman Polanski is not from the Middle East–and every Arab I know doesn’t think it’s just fine to fuck young teenagers. While we’re at it, lots of things are legal in the US that aren’t legal in other countries, and vice-versa. Polanski doesn’t get a pass to rape a 13-year-old because he’s not a US citizen–nor should he get a pass because he’s such a great freaking director, wealthy, White, and male. He knew goddamn well that it was against the law, so don’t give me the crap that “other countries think fucking children is just fine” excuse.

  19. debbie
    debbie September 29, 2009 at 8:25 am |

    Let me be the first vote for disemvowellment!

  20. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 29, 2009 at 8:33 am |

    Between this and the Oprah-Phillips interview, I think I’m done with the universe for a bit. There are times when the hatefulness of our society just boggles the mind.

  21. jemand
    jemand September 29, 2009 at 10:26 am |

    because of reading this, I was tentatively worried before opening the article at slate about Roman Polanski, but was rather surprised. They aren’t exactly cnn, or msnbc or whatever, but they call rape rape without any sort of wishy washy wavering, and even explain that the “judicial misconduct” during the original trial was such that dismissal makes no sense.

    mainstream media is kinda dying anyway ‘cuz they never report anything right, I’m glad to see that some of the online replacement seems to be doing better on these issues.

  22. pennylane
    pennylane September 29, 2009 at 1:14 pm |

    Ben, lest you think the documentary is an entirely objective take on the situation, please read this:

    And then go read the victim’s grand jury testimony which the documentary conveniently leaves out.

    Even if she had been 23 it still would have been raped. He gave her alcohol and drugs, she said no, he did it anyway.

  23. Ledasmom
    Ledasmom September 29, 2009 at 2:24 pm |

    Does the statute of limitations run while someone is fleeing justice by skipping the country? I thought there were circumstances under which it is suspended.

  24. darthhellokitty
    darthhellokitty September 29, 2009 at 4:37 pm |

    He gave her drugs and alcohol, he put his penis in her when she said no, and he continued putting his penis various places as she continued to say no.

    She could have been 30 years old, and it would still have been rape.

  25. Ginjoint
    Ginjoint September 29, 2009 at 4:40 pm |

    “There’s the America of art and culture, and then there’s American justice, which is very Puritan, which doesn’t forget, which doesn’t forgive, that absolutely wants enforce, exercise the law, punish,” said Serge Toubiana, head of the French film archive and heritage institution, the Cinematheque Francaise. “Justice has a right to be exercised, but not in any old way.”

    (French Culture Minister) Mitterrand continued with a jab against the United States: “In the same way that there is a generous America that we like, there is also a scary America that has just shown its face.”

    BIG fuck, big you, to all these assholes spinning this into a “Americans are so Puritan and we are so very sophisticated” schpiel, or using this as some sort of bizarre example of “America is such a bully!” This is about a creep who raped a little girl. I don’t give a flying fuck what the HBO documentary says, he copped to it. That last line, Little Light? Sheer perfection. And thank you to Sheelzebub, for bringing up the revolting use of the word “lynching” by these rape apologists. In fact, thank you for your whole post.

  26. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub September 29, 2009 at 6:28 pm |

    @Little Light:

    I’m leaning toward disemvowelling this one. Thoughts, peanut gallery?

    Can we point and mock for a bit first?


    Mitterand is a douche. Oh, yeah, it’s so very puritanical of us to think that child rape is wrong. :::rolls eyes::: It’s not at all puritanical, of course, to revert to the old madonna-whore rape apology BS that Polanski’s defenders use: she wasn’t a virgin, she’d used drugs before, there fore impure woman and totes unrapeable. That’s puritanical, right there.

  27. Malta
    Malta September 29, 2009 at 7:43 pm |

    @sonia -> some pointing and mocking

    Fun fact: kids in Kansas can legally wed at age 12 for girls and 14 for boys with their parent’s consent. So I guess that means Americans support underage, arranged marriages seeing as how the anachronistic laws of one state tell you about the current cultural mores of an entire region. Wee, illogical generalizations sure are fun!

    Back to the topic at hand, it’s worth repeating that the victim DID NOT consent, so even if she had been 23, this still would have been rape. Rape is rape is rape.

  28. Feministe » Getting Over It
    Feministe » Getting Over It September 29, 2009 at 10:26 pm |

    […] I’m reading the opinions about whether Roman Polanski should be extradited and prosecuted for drugging and raping a child, whether or not it was thirty-two years ago, whether or not the man is elderly today, whether or […]

  29. Sexual Politics, the Law and the Roman Polanski Arrest | Xenia Institute

    […] Feministe |  “If you believe arresting people and making them stand trial is worth anything, why the objection? Why the international outcry and circulation of petitions and raging French government officials? Because seriously, the message I’m hearing is, if you have enough money and celebrity friends, if you’re talented enough, if you’re charming enough, everyone thinks that you should just be left alone to rape underage girls and how dare anyone call you on it or even suggest that you have to stand trial like anyone else. And the same news media that pruriently reports the horrible details of similar crimes done by non-famous people will back you up on it. This, my friends, is what a rape culture looks like.” […]

  30. Chris Dornan
    Chris Dornan September 30, 2009 at 11:02 am |

    I am astonished at the need for this article–this is obvious stuff.

    That said, very well said.

  31. Feminist Friday Quick Clicks, 2 « Cook & Hook

    […] Trying to figure out why anyone would defend this guy (Polanski) […]

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