Honestly, at the rate we’re going, it can’t be long before some celebrity and/or liberal tells us that the kid was asking for it.
Jonathan Kuntz, a visiting professor in UCLA’s Cinema and Media Studies school, said the local reaction may be a version of the “there, but for the grace of God, go I.” “I think that there are a lot of folks in Hollywood in the late ’60s and ’70s who may have done a lot of things they weren’t really proud of, and may have been participating in very similar things,” Kuntz said. “And it touches on a question that’s been around for a long time: whether the celebrity is above the law.”
Some of the industry’s most prominent women said they believe Polanski, who faces a sentence as low as probation and as high as 16 months in prison for pleading guilty to having sex with a minor, should be freed. “My personal thoughts are let the guy go,” said Peg Yorkin, founder of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “It’s bad a person was raped. But that was so many years ago. The guy has been through so much in his life. It’s crazy to arrest him now. Let it go. The government could spend its money on other things.”
In fairness to the sisterhood, this sort of cretinism appears to be an outlier. NOW dropped the hammer on Polanski apologists last night and Katha Pollitt took off the gloves early this morning. Quote: “That some of his defenders are women is particularly disappointing. Don’t they see how they are signing on to arguments that blame the victim, minimize rape, and bend over backwards to exonerate the perpetrator? Error of youth, might have mistaken her age, teen slut, stage mother–is that what we want people to think when middle-aged men prey on ninth-graders?” Click through and read down to the end for the final, devastating line, which captures just how much of a bipartisan PR catastrophe this is turning into for Hollywood. I’m skeptical that there’ll be financial consequences, but Weinstein, at least, sounds vain and stupid enough to pursue his defense of a child-rapist to the very end. The longer this drags on, the bigger and more bitter the backlash gets. Frankly, I hope they go all-in; I’m more curious than ever to see where else that famous “moral compass” points.
I’ve been pushing this piece by a child-rape survivor on Twitter and in Headlines but let me take the opportunity to push it again here. It starts brutal and gets more brutal as it goes along. Don’t miss it. Exit question: Has anyone read the source material for the detail on Wikipedia that Polanski started, ahem, “dating” Nastassja Kinski when she was 15? The footnotes link to a book that’s not online and a movie I haven’t seen. Anyone out there able to confirm/deny that this has been reported somewhere besides Wikipedia?
Update: Exit question answered by Reason’s Matt Welch, who flags this passage from Polanski’s memoir involving Kinski a.k.a. “Nasty.”
One day a German gossip columnist invited me out on a double date with two girls he wante me to meet. Both were young and, in different ways, strikingly beautiful. One of them was rather dowdily dressed. I asked her name. “My friends call me Nasty,” she said. […] Very late that night, after a long round of discos, the four of us ended up in my suite. Leaving Nasty with the journalist, I took the other girl, a stunning blonde, to bed. By the time I surfaced the journalist had gone. Nasty was half-asleep in an armchair in the sitting room. Taking her by the hand, I led her back into the bedroom.
We never repeated this threesome, though I saw a lot of both girls thereafter. I dated the blonde for several weeks, but it was Nasty who grew on me more and more. […]
Nastassia introdued me to her mother, who discussed her career with me […]. That was when I first learned Nastassia’s age. She was only fifteen.
We made love more than once during my three months in Munich. […] On the night we met I’d thought her a couple of years older than her friend, who was, in fact, seventeen.
Exit question: How many more teenyboppers has he, ahem, “made love” to?