A Right-Left consensus building on Polanski

posted at 11:36 am on October 1, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Every once in a while, an issue comes along that has such clear-cut implications that it rearranges the usual political alignments — perhaps especially so when the issue has little to do with electoral politics.  Such is the case with Roman Polanski’s arrest in Switzerland on the basis of a 32-year-old arrest warrant for jumping bail and fleeing the US after admitting to statutory rape — and committing rape and sodomy on a 13-year-old girl he’d first drugged.  After an initial blast of outrage from the Hollywood Left, those cultural elites find themselves further and further marginalized as the vast majority of people from across the political spectrum vent their own outrage over the shabby and despicable excuses offered for Polanski’s actions.

First, the Washington Post editors offer their measured offense at Polanski defenders, and calls the fugitive a coward:

Roman Polanski’s apologists — as typified by the comments of Swiss filmmaker Otto Weisser, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, film and TV celebrity Whoopi Goldberg — don’t let basic facts, or even simple decency for that matter, get in the way of their defense of this notorious director. Ever since Mr. Polanski’s arrest Saturday in Switzerland on a fugitive warrant in a case involving sex with a 13-year-old girl, a number of Hollywood luminaries — Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, David Lynch, to name but a few — are demanding his release. This follows the equally misguided defense of Mr. Polanski by European political and cultural authorities. Thankfully, a backlash is developing, fueled by the public getting a clear understanding of Mr. Polanski’s sordid crime and his cowardice in evading justice.

What matters is not that Mr. Polanski is 76 or that he has a talent for filmmaking or that his own life has been filled with unspeakable horrors or that the case is decades old. It doesn’t even matter that his underage victim, now grown up, forgives him. What matters is that this man admitted to having sex with a 13-year-old whose undisputed testimony details how he gave her champagne and Quaaludes, got her naked in a hot tub and wouldn’t listen as she — terrified — said no. He was originally charged with sodomy and rape but agreed to plead to a lesser offense. He jumped bail and fled the country out of fear the judge would give him more prison time than the paltry 42 days supposedly promised by prosecutors. He has been living with impunity and in luxury ever since.

One wonders whether these same editors will eventually address columnist Anne Applebaum’s serial misrepresentations of the facts of the case, as well as her conflict of interest in it.  One doesn’t need courage for that task — just simple editorial competence.

Susan Estrich, not exactly a conservative stalwart, blasts Polanski and his defenders at Rasmussen in her column, “Roman the Rapist”:

Roman Polanski was on his way to a film festival in which he was to be honored for his life’s work when he was arrested last weekend. Some 100 European big shots have released a statement in protest: “Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision. It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him.”

I’ve got news for the big shots: International cultural events are not safe havens for criminals, nor is there any reason they should be. A criminal is a criminal, even if he is “one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers.” There’s nothing “inadmissible” about it, guys. …

When reality intervened and it became clear that a judge might well sentence him to time in prison, Polanski did not seek to withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial. He did not await the sentence and then appeal it. Free on bail pending sentencing, he decided to thumb his nose at the American justice system and flee the country. Fleeing from justice violates the “most elementary” principles of our legal system, to quote the misinformed Mr. Temime. It’s every bit as serious as raping a 13-year-old.

For the past 30 years, Roman Polanski has been not just a convicted rapist but a fugitive from justice. … The fact that he got away with it this long is not a reason to declare him innocent. He is a guilty man who fled from justice. It is time, past time, that he was returned.

Estrich makes an important point about the wishes of the victim in this matter.   In two ways, it’s irrelevant.  First, Polanski committed a crime against the judicial system by fleeing, an offense that must be corrected regardless of the underlying case, and for which Polanski must pay some price.  Otherwise, bail means nothing, especially to the rich.

Second, the state assumes the role of complainant in criminal cases at trial for a reason.  As part of the social contract, we agree to forgo personal and/or clan blood atonement for crimes against us in place of a rational adjudication of crimes, which is not the universal condition, as we discovered somewhat belatedly in Iraq and Afghanistan.  If we want to support the rule of law rather than vendettas, then we need to pursue Polanski and everyone else who runs out on sentencing after a conviction.

No major blog has as large a contingent of Hollywood elites as the Huffington Post, but even there, lines have been drawn.  While some of HuffPo’s bloggers have demanded Polanski’s release, the commenters there have mainly savaged Polanski’s supporters.  Nina Burleigh, writing from Italy, wonders why the cultural elite want to champion a sex offender, and draws a comparison to treatment of war criminals in an explicit attempt to goad Polanski apologists (via Howard Kurtz):

To these artists and other supporters of the arrested director, the incarceration of the director is the end of a witch-hunt, the persecution of a genius by low-level, un-imaginative legal drones, who wear un-cool suits and wouldn’t know a semiotic deconstruction if it smacked them in the face. If Polanski did anything wrong, and some, I think, would even say he did not, he should be forgiven for a single folly, committed way back in the ‘lude’ and hot-tub heyday of 1970s Hollywood debauchery. The rape of a 13-year old was hardly the worst offense committed at Jack Nicholson’s pad.

By this way of thinking, to arrest Polanski now is like arresting a woman for riding a bicycle in public because it was illegal in the 19th Century. But, to arrest Polanski now is also like apprehending a war criminal many years after the fact. The war criminal may be living in South America, tending his garden and making sheep’s cheese, and his victims blissfully reaching the age of non compos mentis, but it means something to the world that justice be served.

Comparing a Hollywood child rape to war criminal behavior will inspire outrage, guffaws, ridicule. Bring it on.

Hollywood’s response to all of this?  As Patterico discovered, it’s that their customers should shut up and let them instruct us on morality:

[Movie Mogul Harvey] Weinstein said that people generally misunderstand what happened to Polanski at sentencing. He’s not convinced public opinion is running against the filmmaker and dismisses the categorization of Hollywood as amoral. “Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion,” Weinstein said.

Hollywood has the “best moral compass”?  Not even its most ardent fans are going to buy that.  And it’s certainly good to have compassion, but apparently that compassion is limited to powerful film directors.  For that matter, it’s even more limited to politically correct film directors.  It’s certainly not given to the children that get victimized by the casting couch, as this incident clearly shows.

The danger for Hollywood in its knee-jerk support for a child rapist is in the divide it shows from its usual allies on the Left.  This, perhaps more than any recent issue or event, shows just how radical and fringe the entertainment industry has become, and how badly it has divorced itself from its consumers.  That lesson will not shock many on the Right, but perhaps it will serve as a Road to Damascus moment for others.

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I see the label Classic Liberal used more and more often but not used by Liberals themselves. If they don’t get they don’t want guilt by association of people who pretend -hide behind what they say and do as just being Liberal – Liberal will continue to be used derisively. So be it if they don’t care I don’t care it is one of the major reasons this country is so polarized politically.

Dr Evil on October 1, 2009 at 1:24 PM

I’m sorry but I’ve got to disagree with you. What you call guilt by association I would call aiding and abetting. You see it all the time in DC. Liberals who claim they disagree with what is going on inside the Obama administration but doing nothing to stop it either.

highhopes on October 1, 2009 at 1:29 PM

How about a string of letters to ABC advertisers?

either orr on October 1, 2009 at 1:32 PM

Ass-raping a child was certainly compassionate of Roman Polanski. Kill me now.

alliebobbitt on October 1, 2009 at 1:38 PM

Who are the celebrities that have spoken out against Polanski? I know of Kirstie Alley, Greg Grunberg, Sherri Shepherd, Rosie O’Donnell, Jewel and Luc Besson. Anyone else?

SnarkVader on October 1, 2009 at 1:39 PM

Re: she was “smokin’ hot”. FWIW, I’ve seen a picture of her at thirteen. And she looks THIRTEEN.

SarahW on October 1, 2009 at 1:42 PM

GG: Do you believe in sin?
OBAMA: Yes.
GG: What is sin?
OBAMA: Being out of alignment with my values.

No different than what Weinstein is saying, your values or ‘moral compass’ can be picked and choosen

jp on October 1, 2009 at 1:46 PM

I hear tell that he used to do some pretty good music. Just ask some of the Beach Boys.

mjk on October 1, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Or Guns ‘N Roses.

Captain Kirock on October 1, 2009 at 1:50 PM

And we all know Hollywood’s record of protecting their youg. Just check any rehab center.

bloggless on October 1, 2009 at 1:51 PM

Compassion is antithical to morality. I have seen no consensus from Hollywood, for decades, that wasn’t actively immoral. Think Jane Fonda, Alec Baldwin, Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, and Sean Penn, to name a few.

proconstitution on October 1, 2009 at 1:51 PM

Would love to see them get him back here by promising him time served for the rape. Then slap him with years for fleeing. Maybe we can get lucky and he will get a cellmate that is wanting Polanski to pose for some vogue photos.

coyoterex on October 1, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Hollywood’s Obama’s response to all of this? As Patterico discovered, it’s that their customers concerned citizens should shut up and let them him instruct us on morality:….”

Birds of a feather.

nico on October 1, 2009 at 1:59 PM

What if they all had mustaches? Should we blame people with mustaches?

crr6 on October 1, 2009 at 12:02 PM

Just wanna be clear here.
I’ve always seen you post things concerning conservatives & republicans are guilty by their associations.
So I assume we will now be seeing a change in the tone of your comments.
Republicans & conservatives are no longer bad.
It is only the individual.
We can no longer blame Bush.

Badger40 on October 1, 2009 at 2:02 PM

“Hollywood has the best moral compass”

There it is again. Absolute proof that TRUTH is ALWAYS stranger than fiction.

Blacksmith8 on October 1, 2009 at 2:05 PM

Stunningly out of touch. Read the transcript from the court interview of the little girl. This guy should be on death row, and at a minimum in jail for the rest of his perverted days.

marklmail on October 1, 2009 at 2:07 PM

Yet I bet %90 of the “outraged” posters on here sit in front of the television around 25 hours a week, rent the latest flicks every week, and pay to see the latest hollywood garbage with loud noises and bit tits.

Quit being two-faced phonies. Starve the repulsive Hollywood industry. If you absolutely must have your Hollywood fix, at least steal it off the internet.

ClassicCon on October 1, 2009 at 2:13 PM

“Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion,” Weinstein said.

Oxymoron

BigMike252 on October 1, 2009 at 2:15 PM

And they wonder why no one is going to their movies!! And the only movies making $$$ is kids’ movies.. They are all MORONS.

reshas1 on October 1, 2009 at 2:20 PM

Courageously, Susan Estrich has talked about her own rape and what she went through. Didn’t hide or cower.

Whether one agrees with her or not, she’s a brave person.

SteveMG on October 1, 2009 at 12:05 PM

Susan Estrich is my favorite former President of the Harvard Law Review — and unlike you-know-who, she was actually a law professor, not just a “lecturer.”

Someday those transcripts of his will be made public, and we’ll find out if he is like failed 1956 Dem candidate Adlai Stevenson, who made a deal with his Harvard profs to conceal the fact that he flunked out of law school.

L.N. Smithee on October 1, 2009 at 2:24 PM

Yet I bet %90 of the “outraged” posters on here sit in front of the television around 25 hours a week, rent the latest flicks every week, and pay to see the latest hollywood garbage with loud noises and bit tits.

Quit being two-faced phonies. Starve the repulsive Hollywood industry. If you absolutely must have your Hollywood fix, at least steal it off the internet.

ClassicCon on October 1, 2009 at 2:13 PM

Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare assume that because you’re a massive massive jackass, the rest of us are. You f*cking degenerate, you’re almost as bad as the one who basically calls me a slut and says that based on the way I dress, I deserve to be raped.

I don’t watch TV unless it’s the History or the Military Channel. I haven’t been to a movie in the theater in six months. I don’t know anything about watching movies with “loud noises and big tits.”
Sounds like you’re projecting a bit. Don’t you dare stereotype people just because you’re too much of a beta whatever to have the balls to do anything useful with your life.

You f*cking moron.

mjk on October 1, 2009 at 2:28 PM

Quit being two-faced phonies. Starve the repulsive Hollywood industry. If you absolutely must have your Hollywood fix, at least steal it off the internet.

ClassicCon on October 1, 2009 at 2:13 PM

You first, you repulsive f*ckwit.

mjk on October 1, 2009 at 2:29 PM

ANYONE who signed a petition for Polanski’s release should be forced to have a bumper stick on their car saying “I SUPPORT A CHILD RAPIST”.

Let’s see how long the driver and vehicle remain intact.

GarandFan on October 1, 2009 at 2:29 PM

(Stand by for a quick “Better Than You” message from Jaibones.)

I would happily express my most outrageous outrage and call for a boycott of blah, blah, blah, but quite frankly I’ve been boycotting these ass-fu@kers for decades already. And I hear enough celebrity-worship here at Hot Air to know that all this outrage is pretty short-lived.

Next movie with humping robots comes out and Roman Polanski is the director and Harvey Winegut the producer, and Allah will have the preview vid and you’ll all be high-fiving over how flaming hot Megan Fox’s as- looks in that string bikini or whatever.

I’m going to stick with two things: 1) Yeah, extradite this midget rapist and let him fight for his life in prison, and B) Let’s wrap the immoral Hollyweird left’s stupidity and defense of Polanski around the necks of every DemoRat that they contribute to.

Jaibones on October 1, 2009 at 2:31 PM

Must have been funny as h… to see Roman’s expression when apprehended! Hey, where’s my award and what are those cops doing?”

Some things you just have to laugh at!

IntheNet on October 1, 2009 at 12:56 PM

Polanski had better be glad that was Swiss cops and not German cops who arrested him. The German cops would have probably opened a can of “whup a$$” on him.

Johan Klaus on October 1, 2009 at 2:32 PM

ClassicCon on October 1, 2009 at 2:13 PM

Oops. Looks like I accidentally stole your brain.

Jaibones on October 1, 2009 at 2:33 PM

ANYONE who signed a petition for Polanski’s release should be forced to have a bumper stick on their car saying “I SUPPORT A CHILD RAPIST”.

Let’s see how long the driver and vehicle remain intact.

GarandFan on October 1, 2009 at 2:29 PM

Either that, or a sticker that says “I bend over for Polanski”

Johan Klaus on October 1, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Yet I bet %90 of the “outraged” posters on here sit in front of the television around 25 hours a week, rent the latest flicks every week, and pay to see the latest hollywood garbage with loud noises and bit tits.

Quit being two-faced phonies. Starve the repulsive Hollywood industry. If you absolutely must have your Hollywood fix, at least steal it off the internet.

ClassicCon on October 1, 2009 at 2:13 PM

You’d lose the bet as far as I’m concerned. I did go to a movie in this century. It was American Carol. I didn’t attend a movie in the 1990s. I don’t buy DVDs either.I can’t seem to find anything work buying.As for TV I’m down to less than 2 hours a week. (Except when the Packers are playing) I’d watch TV more but we have never had satellite or cable, and I might watch a bit more, like Fox News, if we had it. Maybe the History Channel too.

Jeff from WI on October 1, 2009 at 2:49 PM

How to test their moral compass:

What if instead of Directory Roman Polanski it was
Senator Roman Polanski,Republican from Texas or
Father Roman Polanski, Catholic Priest.

Just change the profession and see how fast they would want “JUSTICE JUSTICE JUSTICE !”

kurtzz3 on October 1, 2009 at 2:52 PM

Would love to see them get him back here by promising him time served for the rape. Then slap him with years for fleeing. Maybe we can get lucky and he will get a cellmate that is wanting Polanski to pose for some vogue photos.

coyoterex on October 1, 2009 at 1:52 PM

And on top of that put his Hollywood supporters in the stocks.

shick on October 1, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Quit being two-faced phonies. Starve the repulsive Hollywood industry.

ClassicCon on October 1, 2009 at 2:13 PM

Great point. Entertainment, however, is like a drug. It’s hard to quit.

shick on October 1, 2009 at 2:59 PM

Nina Burleigh? Nina Burleigh?!

This is the shameless whore who said in 1998 that she’d happily give Bill Clinton a blowjob for keeping abortion legal.

Don’t any of these people own a mirror?

warbaby on October 1, 2009 at 3:05 PM

This is the basic liberal mindset:

Seriously, all you people going out on a limb here saying that rape of a minor should have a punishment…
ThackerAgency on September 30, 2009 at 3:58 PM

Now that Right and Left are gathering behind an issue, the better of both sides, I have to wonder how the trolls posting here now feel.

I bet they feel let down by those segments of the Left that actually have a standard of morality, fair play, and honest debate.

Good for everybody when Right and Left share a common value.

Liam on October 1, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Further…

warbaby on October 1, 2009 at 3:06 PM

I’m sort of interested in how he got to France. Isn’t it standard procedure to confiscate a perp’s US passport in criminal cases. Did he do a flit to Mexico, then to France on his French passport? Did somebody sneak him out on a private plane?

What was the methodology of his departure from US jurisdiction?

mojo on October 1, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Thacker, where are you? I’ve called you out a couple of times now and you’ve run away to hide like a child. Go get help!

thevastlane on October 1, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Thacker, where are you? I’ve called you out a couple of times now and you’ve run away to hide like a child. Go get help!

thevastlane on October 1, 2009 at 3:10 PM

I hope you’re not holding your breath, there.

Liam on October 1, 2009 at 3:14 PM

mojo on October 1, 2009 at 3:10 PM

He simply jumped a plane. Security was far more lax than now, and his crime was a State issue, not Federal. Times, they have changed.

Liam on October 1, 2009 at 3:16 PM

I hope you’re not holding your breath, there.

Liam on October 1, 2009 at 3:14 PM

No, but I am rather persistent so I’ll keep calling him out whenever I see him pop up.

thevastlane on October 1, 2009 at 3:25 PM

Thacker has never been big on any rule that gets in the way of him having fun.

MarkTheGreat on October 1, 2009 at 12:19 PM

I just got back in…and that was just terrible, so terrible I laughed my a$$ off.

right2bright on October 1, 2009 at 3:32 PM

thevastlane on October 1, 2009 at 3:25 PM

I and others have saved his posts, to use against him when he rears his ugly head. There’s not way I’m ever letting that guy off the hook. His posts tell all, and if he won’t eat his words he’ll end up choking on them.

Keep your pressure. I and others are with you. That joker cheesed off a lot of us.

Liam on October 1, 2009 at 3:32 PM

Yet I bet %90 of the “outraged” posters on here sit in front of the television around 25 hours a week, rent the latest flicks every week, and pay to see the latest Hollywood garbage with loud noises and bit tits.

Quit being two-faced phonies. Starve the repulsive Hollywood industry. If you absolutely must have your Hollywood fix, at least steal it off the internet.

ClassicCon on October 1, 2009 at 2:13 PM

How much you wanna bet?

It’s one thing to have fantasies about people you don’t even know. It’s quite another to publish them as if you are conveying information.

Pythagoras on October 1, 2009 at 3:33 PM

Yet I bet %90 of the “outraged” posters on here sit in front of the television around 25 hours a week, rent the latest flicks every week, and pay to see the latest Hollywood garbage with loud noises and bit tits.

Quit being two-faced phonies. Starve the repulsive Hollywood industry. If you absolutely must have your Hollywood fix, at least steal it off the internet.

ClassicCon on October 1, 2009 at 2:13 PM

I started boycotting various Hollywood types in the mid-1980′s when their lies about Reagan and the U.S. became untenable. Once on my blacklist they stay there. Living in CA I get more than the national share of loudmouth liberals from Hollywood interjecting themselves in local and state politics so my list is probably longer than most…

Did I mention that my home library now exceeds 8,000 books?

(And I agree that conservatives should be taking names and getting prepared to re-publish them and their mutual affection for liberal politicians in next year’s election cycle.)

in_awe on October 1, 2009 at 3:59 PM

The rape of a 13-year old was hardly the worst offense committed at Jack Nicholson’s pad.

Only murder is classified as worse. I’ll wager Jack will take issue with Kurtz’s interpretation of those days.

FireBlogger on October 1, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Yet I bet %90 of the “outraged” posters on here sit in front of the television around 25 hours a week, rent the latest flicks every week, and pay to see the latest hollywood garbage with loud noises and bit tits.

Quit being two-faced phonies. Starve the repulsive Hollywood industry. If you absolutely must have your Hollywood fix, at least steal it off the internet.

ClassicCon on October 1, 2009 at 2:13 PM

.
Heh! “at least steal it off the internet.”
Heh X 2!

I think you have more compatriots than you think.

Boycott the film industry and kill your T.V.!

ronsfi on October 1, 2009 at 4:42 PM

Hollywood has the best moral compass

Hollywood has the best moron compass

Fixed!

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on October 1, 2009 at 4:56 PM

Hollywood’s “moral compass” always points at its crotch.

29Victor on October 1, 2009 at 5:19 PM

When I was 13, I liked 13 year old girls. When I was in my forties, I didn’t. Polanski obviously never matured emotionally beyond puberty.

oldernwiser on October 1, 2009 at 12:54 PM

Or, he (4’10″) doesn’t like dating taller women.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on October 1, 2009 at 5:29 PM

Good for you, Susan Estrich.

The world is upside down when we find ourselves having to “give credit where credit is due” for such a normal point of view.

Hey Leftists…you’re in serious trouble.

Saltysam on October 1, 2009 at 8:29 PM

Quit being two-faced phonies. Starve the repulsive Hollywood industry.

ClassicCon on October 1, 2009 at 2:13 PM

I second this motion.

My family does not watch television, and we are VERY slective about which movies to watch.

Saltysam on October 1, 2009 at 8:32 PM

Hey…all you douchebags:

READ the testimony.

That is CLASSIC child molestation, also known as child abuse…child sexual abuse to be exact.

Everything that he plead guilty to typifies the actions of a monster.

He fled justice.

Time for justice.

Case f*&^ing closed!

Saltysam on October 1, 2009 at 8:38 PM

You f*cking moron.

mjk on October 1, 2009 at 2:28 PM

Get down!

Gang-of-One on October 1, 2009 at 9:45 PM

put polanskanky in prison and let big black bubba rape him to death. then watch ophra splian it away.

huckelberry on October 1, 2009 at 10:06 PM

ClassicCon on October 1, 2009 at 2:13 PM

I guess that makes me a 10%er. Last time I paid to see any movies was as a teenager back about the time we landed on the moon. Double feature at a drive-in. Well, like any red-blooded American boy the movies was just an excuse to, well, you know…
As for tv I’m good for a couple hours a night. Have to add to the Fox ratings, track what MSM is lying about, watch an occasional movie, and plug into any combative sports I come across. My rule for the occasional movie is that I don’t watch any movie starring Sean Penn, et al.

Oh, and relaxxxx…

Gang-of-One on October 1, 2009 at 10:13 PM

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