Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Should he, or shouldn’t he?

I have written a whole bunch about the Roman Polanski thing on T & T.

But I tried pretty hard to not inflict too much of my own opinion on the three articles.

Here’s the place to spill my guts and be a whole lot less tactful.

I have come to the conclusion that every person involved in the rape of Samantha Geimer is a pretty despicable person. And I mean everyone—Polanski, Samantha’s mother Susan, Samantha herself, the friend of Samantha’s family (Henri) who suggested Samantha for the photos, Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston (for being such good friends that Polanski was comfortable enough to give Polanski access to their home, and for Huston not demanding Polanski put an immediate stop to what he was doing in the bedroom), and even the caretaker who gave Polanski permission to open a bottle of champagne that was in Nicholson/Huston’s fridge.

I am seven years older than Samantha, barely out of my teens and too young to legally drink at the time of the rape. And yes, I believe what happened was rape, even though this trainwreck could have been derailed by any one of a number of people. But as I wrote over at T & T, everyone involved was a famewhore.

Polanski at the age of 45 was trying to hang onto his reputation as a continental playboy and swinger.

Susan, Samantha’s mother, was described by Polanski as being an actress, so why not get attention from a famous director any way you can? Maybe if he likes the daughter he might like the mother and see that she’s worthy of casting in a movie? She’s the latest undiscovered talent in Hollywood!

The friend, Henri, wanted Polanski to give Nicholson copies of the magazine he wrote for, a fringe publication extolling the virtues of marijuana.

Samantha herself probably got caught up in the potential glamour of becoming an international (!) model and all that would lead to. Oh well, so she had to put up with an old man to get there. Perhaps she’d already seen that sort of behavior from her mom. The 13-year old Samantha no doubt had limited parenting; she claimed to have lost her virginity at age 8 (eight!!) and at the age of 13 not only had a 17-year old boyfriend that she had an intimate relationship with, but she also told Polanski she’d been drunk and taken Quaaludes. ( I waited until the age of 15 for my first experience at alcohol abuse while in the company of age-group peers, and never touched downers.)

She may have been young, but Samantha had been around the block a time or two.

Over 30 years later, there is evidence of possible judicial misconduct. But did this misconduct consist of railroading an innocent guy into taking a plea deal? Nope. It was as simple as the judge thinking that perhaps he needed to give Polanski a bit more time in prison to think about what he’d done, before he was deported from the U.S.

Polanski took a plea, plead guilty to the least serious of six charges, and did 45 days of a court-ordered 90 day psychiatric evaluation. Before he returned to court for formal sentencing, Polanski split.

There is no deal in place. Polanski didn’t show for sentencing, the terms of his plea have not been met, and he is a fugitive from justice.

Some people argue that the State of California is broke, let the now 70-something guy out of that Swiss jail and let him live his life in peace. “He’s been through so much,” they say. And not every person who clings to that train of thought is a limousine liberal. My daughter thinks it’s stupid to tie this up in court, especially because the victim and her mother want it left alone.

Because Polanski ran, this crime is no longer about them. At this point, he should have to do the year in prison, the maximum time for failure to appear for a felony case. He will no doubt care much about the $5K fine associated with this.

Samantha says that the civil court remedy was adequate for her, although it appears by court records that Polanski hasn’t paid her fully. But at this point, why is she not cooperative? She went public with her identity in the late 1980s when she initiated the civil suit. The facts of the case are well known. Yes, she and her mother are going to face criticism for her behavior—her mother should never have let Samantha leave with a 45-year old man who was proud of his swinger image. And Samantha may have been sending mixed signals to Polanski—the caretaker who let Polanski and Samantha into Nicholson’s house said the two behaved toward each other as if they were lovers. (Ick.)

Polanski would have been better off facing that judge all those years ago versus taking his chances with a judge or jury who probably do not embrace the “everything goes” disco attitude of 1977. I have no idea what the LA DA has in store for Polanski once he is stateside, but I have a feeling that he won’t be permitted the sweet deal he had back in 1977.

He needs to enjoy a little time in prison alongside Phil Spector to think about what he did, and then he needs to be unceremoniously deported. Consumers (that’s you and I) need to remember the names of those Hollywood types who voiced their support for Polanski and start talking with our wallets. What he did in 1977 was wrong, just as wrong and despicable as it would be today.

Too bad castration isn’t an option.


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