Yesterday, I just considered Anne Applebaum to have a conflict of interest over Roman Polanski’s arrest in Switzerland. After her response to criticism for failing to disclose her husband’s efforts to get charges dropped against the director, it seems clear that Applebaum has lost whatever sense she formerly had — and that her readers are overwhelmingly repulsed by it. In responding to Patterico, Applebaum scoffs at the notion that the 13-year-old girl had been victimized — because she called her mother before the attack. I’m not kidding:
Of course, there were some very legitimate disagreements, including two excellent ones from my colleagues Gene Robinson and Richard Cohen, and I take some of their points. But to them, and to all who imagine that the original incident at the heart of this story was a straightforward and simple criminal case, I recommend reading the transcript of the victim’s testimony (here in two parts) — including her descriptions of the telephone conversation she had with her mother from Polanski’s house, asking permission to be photographed in Jack Nicholson’s jacuzzi — and not just the salacious bits.
As one commenter on the site noted, if Applebaum finds the description of rape and sodomy “salacious”, she needs help. In any event, the transcript does not show the girl asking for or receiving her mother’s permission to have her picture taken in a jacuzzi, let alone in the nude. Patterico updates his readers on exactly what the transcript does show:
Q. What happened out there after he indicated he wished to take pictures of you in the jacuzzi?
A. We went inside and called my mother.
Q. When you say “we called,” did you call or did Mr. Polanski call?
A. He told me to and I talked and then he talked and then I talked again.
Q. What did you tell your mother?
A. She goes, “Are you all right?
I went, “Uh-huh.”
And she says, “Do you want me to come pick you up?”
And I went, “No.”
And he said that we’d be home kind of late because it had already gotten dark out.
Q. When you said “he said,” did he tell you or did you hear him tell your mother on the phone?
A. He told my mother.
Q, Did he tell your mother any other things?
A. Not that I was listening to.
Q. After talking to your mother on the telephone, what happened?
A. We went out and I got in the jacuzzi.
Nowhere in this transcript is this “permission” to get photographed in a jacuzzi mention. But let’s say for a moment that it did, and that the mother said that it was OK to get in the jacuzzi to snap some photos. Does Applebaum believe that it amounted to permission to sexually abuse a 13-year-old girl, and that such an agreement somehow trumps the girl’s repeated demands that Polanski stop attacking her? And this doesn’t even begin to address the fact that Polanski drugged the victim first to make her more compliant.
Applebaum crosses the line into some despicable territory here. She argues that once someone gets into a jacuzzi, regardless of their protestations and their refusals, that a girl is fair game for a rapist no matter what her age. No no longer means no if the shameless hussy leads on the poor, victimized male.
Meanwhile, even the French have begun to rethink Polanski:
After two days of widespread expressions of support for jailed filmmaker Roman Polanski, from European political leaders as well as leading cultural figures there and in the United States, the mood was shifting among French politicians Tuesday about whether the government should have rushed to rally around the Oscar-winning director.
Marc Laffineur, the vice-president of the French assembly and a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling center-right party, the UMP, took issue with the French culture and foreign minister’s remarks supporting Mr. Polanski, saying “the charge of raping a child 13 years old is not something trivial, whoever the suspect is.”
Within the Green party, Daniel Cohn-Bendit — a French deputy in the European parliament whose popularity is rising — also criticized Sarkozy administration officials for leaping too quickly to Mr. Polanski’s side despite the serious nature of his crime. On the extreme right, the father and daughter politicians Jean-Marie and Marine Le Pen also attacked the ministers, saying they were supporting “a criminal pedophile in the name of the rights of the political-artistic class.” …
The mood was even more hostile in blogs and e-mails to newspapers and news magazines. Of the 30,000 participants in an online poll by the French daily Le Figaro, more than 70 percent said Mr. Polanski, 76, should face justice. And in the magazine Le Point, more than 400 letter writers were almost universal in their disdain for Mr. Polanski.
That contempt was not only directed at Mr. Polanski, but at the French class of celebrities — nicknamed Les People — who are part of Mr. Polanski’s rarefied Parisian world. Letter writers to Le Point scorned Les People as the “crypto-intelligentsia of our country” who deliver “eloquent phrases that defy common sense.”
In other words, the vast majority of French people feel the same way about Polanski as the vast majority of Americans. In both countries, sympathy for a child rapist seems isolated to the entertainment elite and the media sycophants who love them.