The Polanski “morals issue” – just so we’re all on the same page.

Further to Tigtog’s quickhit on Polanski, can we just clear up one point?

This is not a shades-of-grey issue. This is not a “Romeo & Juliet” statutory rape case. This is not a “barely legal” case. This is not a “technicality” case. This is not a “well, some reasonable people might see it another way” case. This is not a “it was only just illegal” case. This was not an “oops, well, he was a nice guy who made a minor error in judgement” case.

A bunch of Hollywood personalities have a petition going, in which they call this a “case of morals”.

Read the court documents for yourself. Read about what some people are saying is just a “hysterical witch hunt”.

*** Cut for graphic account of rape ***

Excerpts from the thirteen-year-old victim’s account at The Smoking Gun. I’ve elided some of the content-free “what happened next?” prosecution questions to maintain the narrative. Emphases are mine.

Just so we’re perfectly clear on exactly what “morals issue” we’re discussing here. Just so we’re all on the same page.

[Q: When you got in the jacuzzi, what were you wearing?] I was going to wear my underwear, but he said for me to take them off. […]

[Q: What did Mr Polanski do when he got into the jacuzzi?] He got in and he went down to the deepest part of it. I went up to the other end of it. He goes, “Come down here.” And I said, “No. No, I got to get out.” And he goes, “No, come down here.” And then I said that I had asthma and that I couldn’t – I had to get out because of the warm air and the cold air or something like that. […]

[Q: Did you have asthma?] No. […] [Why did you tell him you had asthma?] Because I wanted to get out. […]

He asked me if I was all right, if my asthma was bad. I said that I wanted to go home because I needed to take my medicine. He said, “Yeah, I’ll take you home soon. I told him — I said that I wanted to get — I wanted to go home. I said, “No, I have to go home now.[What did Mr Polanski say?] He told me to go in the other room and lie down. […]

I was going, “No, I think I better go home, ” because I was afraid. So I just went and I sat down on the couch. [What were you afraid of?] Him. […]

He goes, “Well, you’ll be better.” and I go, “No, I won’t. I have to go home“. He reached over and he kissed me. And I was telling him, “No,” you know, “keep away“. But I was kind of afraid of him because there was no one else there.

[Did you say anything?] No, besides I was just going, “No. Come on, let’s go home. [What was said after you indicated that you wanted to go home when you were sitting on the couch?] He said “I’ll take you home soon. [Then what happened?] And then he went down and he started performing cuddliness. [What does that mean?] It means he went down on me or he placed his mouth on my vagina. […]

He was just like licking and I don’t know. I was ready to cry. I was kind of — I was going, “No. Come on. Stop it.” But I was afraid. […]

He was — sometimes he was saying stuff, but I was just blocking him out, you know. […]

He started to have intercourse with me […] He placed his penis in my vagina. [What did you say, if anything, before he did that?] I was mostly just on and off saying, “No, stop.” But I wasn’t fighting really because I, you know, there was no one else there and I had no place to go. [What did he say, if anything?] He didn’t answer me when I said, “No.” […]

He goes, “Would you want me to go in through your back?’ And I went, “No.” I think he said something like right after I said I was not on the pill, right before he said, “Oh, I won’t come inside of you then.” And I just went — and he goes — and then he put me — wait. Then he lifted my legs up farther and he went in through my anus. […]

[Did you resist at that time?] A little bit, but not really because — (pause.) [Because what?] Because I was afraid of him. […]

[What happened then?] I was sitting in the car and I was crying.

See also these posts at Shakesville:

Polanski: The Defend-a-thon

Her Reasons Are Not Yours

Categories: gender & feminism, law & order, violence

35 replies

  1. It’s worth noting here as well, I think, that Polanski admitted in open court that he knew his victim was only 13, and that the strongest rebuttal to her account that the creators of the recent sympathetic-to-him documentary on the case could come up with was Polanski’s claim that she was “not unresponsive.”
    “Not unresponsive.” Chilling.
    .-= Angus Johnston´s last blog ..Student Protests in Iran Mark the New Academic Year =-.

  2. Good article and good comments. In fact, better than I’ve seen on the US sites I read. As an adult rape survivor, of over 40 years ago (event), I just skimmed the graphic details (warning was most appreciated). It’s amazing, well, not really, how far people will go to defend celebrity. I saw an article saying the now-adult girl is not interested in “revenge” or some such, but who knows what context in which she said it, if she said it*. It’s not up to the survivor and never was.
    *Once, decades ago, I was a young school teacher (and near the end of my 5 years as a public school teacher, that I was raped by a stranger on my way into my building)(the outcome for me, besides a fear of going solo in an elevator that lasted many many years, was giving up teaching for art, which had been a dream since childhood. My thought “I could die at any time, so go for the art dream.”. I did. While I was a school teacher, NYC got it’s first teachers’ union via a strike for collective bargaining rights, and then a strike for the first contract (April, 1962). I was involved, as a union delegate from my school to the vote for the strike – large union meeting of delegates and we voted to strike. I continued, with others for a day or two after it was allegedly “settled” with the city (“wildcat” striking). I was
    interviewed by a newspaper and they made up entire sentences that I never said and published them. I complained to the editor by phone, when I read it. (He must have really laughed. I was so naive: 22 yrs. old. He noted my objection.
    I had to convince my boss, the school principal, that I never said anything about her – the negative comment was a total invention of the writer (no attribution in article. The newspaper went out of business. No connection, chuckle.)

  3. This is also a “rich celebrity already got the rich celebrity justice- discount in the original case – initial charges of aggravated rape were dropped to unlawful sex with a minor via plea bargain”.
    Polanski was not treated harshly in the original case. His celebrity interests were accommodated to an astonishing degree – he was given time to complete a movie overseas before the trial began, and after his conviction he was remanded for 90 days of psychiatric evaluation before a sentence was to be handed down.
    He skipped bail in the middle of that evaluation period, because he heard that the judge was severely unimpressed by photos in the press of Polanski from that time in Europe before the trial – photos of him partying with very young women. Allegedly the judge felt that his generosity had been exploited and that he looked foolish for granting such leniency, so that he was considering rejecting the plea bargain, striking the original conviction and restoring the initial more severe charges for a new trial. But this is all hearsay – he became a fugitive based on a rumour.
    Society would never accept any other child rapist skipping bail and leaving the country because the rapist was worried that the judge was going to treat the rapist exactly as harshly as the rapist had deserved all along.

  4. It is such a relief to read something sensible being said about all this. That transcript, brutal as it is, FFS, Whoopi et al, how can you not see that as rape?

  5. Oh, but he’s a GENIUS! Put him in prison and we lose that genius forever and that would be the TRUE tragedy in this case …
    [NB someone really does need to invent a sarcasm font]

  6. OT – Lynda they already have!
    Can we have it Mum, can we can we can we pleeeeeeaaaaaasssssseeeeeee! I said please!
    SotBO: just because there is a sarcasm font does not mean that Roman Polanski deserves to get away with the drugging and rape of a thirteen year old girl.

  7. There is now a counter-petition you can sign, asking that Polanski be brought to justice.

  8. The psych report on him at the time is fascinating too. It takes into account that
    ‘the mother was welcoming’ and ‘he was solicitous to avoid pregnancy’ (do they really think that was for Her benefit????

  9. It’s a surprise to find that I agree with Miranda Devine, and feminism does get a bash (as if we are all represented by Whoopi Goldberg), but still not a bad article and interesting cartoon to go with it.
    I’m not sure I’d put photographer Bill Henson in the same category but YMMV.

  10. Only the vilest of misogynist societies could produce an interpretation of a man sticking his erection into a little girl’s rectum as “he was solicitous to avoid pregnancy”.
    [Suggestion of raping Polanski deleted by moderator. That’s not acceptable here. ~L]

  11. It must make poor Miranda’s head explode to be on the same side as the dreaded feminists, however temporarily.

  12. Ah but you see by claiming Whoopi Goldberg (who has defended Polanski) as a representative of feminism she can pretend that she’s not on the same side. Problem solved!

  13. Ah, I see (have just gone and read it), Whoopi Goldberg = Feminism. Whatever, idiot woman.

  14. That was sickening. I hope [deleted by moderator].

  15. Shelby, apparently we’re not allowed to suggest here that Polanski might benefit from experiencing something similar to what he’s dished out.

  16. Hedgepig: Exactly. This is not a new policy here. Please respect it.

  17. Oh dear sweet FSM. For some reason this one has really rocked my boat.

  18. Liss has a depressing list of Hollywood celebrities who have signed the petition to free Polanski (though fortunately, Natalie Portman seems to have been a false alarm).

  19. Oh, over at the Hathor Legacy’s thread on this, a commentator linked to this site – a list of celebrities in favour of his extradition. Not very long, but seeing as before going there, I knew of four, comparatively heartening.

  20. And a growing list of artists who have spoken out against Polanski and want him to face justice.
    Names include Kirstie Alley, Noel Clark (Mickey from Doctor Who), and Neil Gaiman.

  21. Via Shakesville I found this article about Polanski apology (including jaw dropping Harvey Weinstein quote, not even gonna seek out his original article),,0,1755914.story
    which lead me to the Women & Hollywood blog,
    and I was very pleased to see a comment in there from Lynden Barber, the well known Australian film critic and also one time Sydney Film Festival director — he has a New Matilda piece:
    I ‘m not onboard with his thing about the legal case being “more complex” than rape though (what you are describing is , you know, in fact rape) and we shouldn’t have to imagine if it were our daughter in order to see it for what is is … but otherwise I’m glad he’s not taking the “he’s suffered enough” line. The comments though are the usual mixed bag.

  22. The more I read about this the more horrifying it all is.
    Roman himself was quoted in 1978 (the next year) as explaining why the case got so much media coverage (as opposed to murders etc).
    ‘Everybody wants to F*** young girls, Judges want to F*** young girls, Juries want to F*** young girls, Everybody wants to F*** young girls’
    The guy just has no idea at all.

  23. Thank you for posting this, as graphic as it is, it really clears up a lot.
    Let’s hope this can be settled, for her sake, once and for all.

  24. A year or so after he absconded he was reportedly in a ‘relationship’ with Nastassja Kinski, aged 15. He certainly seems to have lived his philosophy as expressed in that interview with Amis, Seepic.

  25. So much straw here, it’s good the Spring racing carnival is coming up, we can line the stalls with it. Oh look no, it’s already covered in horseshit. Put it on the garden then
    (Didn’t Spiked use to be a marxist journal? Is this guy in a marriage of convenience with the Opposition Organ b/c he has the correct line WRT teh silly feminists and purse-lipped joy killers who frown on privileged child rapists getting off scot free? Have I got that right?)

  26. Ok, we’ve got the sacrcasm font, now where’s the WTF font? I can’t believe some of my favourite filmmakers are publicly petitioning for a rapist to not be prosecuted. Surely if any of, say, Martin Scorcese’s three daughters was raped, he would go to the ends of the earth to see that the rapist was brought to justice…where is a desk to hit your head on when you need it….

  27. A year or so after he absconded he was reportedly in a ‘relationship’ with Nastassja Kinski, aged 15
    And I find myself wondering what that was like for her, given that her name doesn’t seem to be on the list of Hollywooders wanting him freed.

  28. I wonder if a female artist convicted of such a serious crime would receive the same generous support from her fellow artists?

  29. Yeah, Scorsese. Disappointing. You’d think with him being such a huge Dylan fan he would have heard “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” once or twice. Time for another spin, Marty, and this time listen to the words!

  30. @Hedgepig October 1, 2009 at 1:20 pm
    Only the vilest of misogynist societies could produce an interpretation of a man sticking his erection into a little girl’s rectum as “he was solicitous to avoid pregnancy”.
    Actually, no, that isn’t the product of the most vile of misogynistic societies, it is definition provide by one very misogynistic and star-struck psychologist. I highly doubt that all of my fellow countrymen would have defined what he did as “solicitous”, even in 1977.
    However, it does give one an idea of how backward the views were at the time of rape. Prior to the 1980s, rape, let alone child rape, was something that was virtually never spoken of publicly. The 1970s were a time when some doctors actually encouraged parents of children who were attacked to simply never mention the attack again. They honestly believed that testifying would be too traumatic, and that the child (at least young children under ten) would eventually forget the crime, and be better off for it. I know this, because unfortunately, my mother was attacked as a child during the 1960s. Thankfully, most Americans have long ago realized how idiotic and harmful this treatment was.
    I find it really disheartening that several film makers I once respected would attempt to rationalize Polanski’s rape of a 13 year-old girl. It’s sad and shameful.


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