Last Friday in Los Angeles, the so-called celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred – whose most recent clients include two of the alleged mistresses of Tiger Woods – called a press conference. A British actor, Charlotte Lewis, appeared alongside her, claiming to have been sexually assaulted in 1983 by Roman Polanski, who is fighting extradition to the United States after his 1977 conviction for unlawful sex with a minor.It appears Mr Harris feels the timing of this announcement is a little unfortunate for his pal:
Carried live on cable TV, Lewis made a short and dramatic statement: "I am also a victim of Roman Polanski. Mr Polanski knew I was only 16 years old when he met me and forced himself upon me in his apartment in Paris. He took advantage of me, and I have lived with the effects of his behaviour ever since." Allred added that her client was "ready to testify under oath if and when that is necessary". The Los Angeles legal authorities subsequently confirmed to the Associated Press that they had interviewed Lewis the previous day.Hmmm, things don’t look good for our plucky antihero in his mansion in Switzerland.
I know! Let’s paint this girl as a flake and a golddigger!
Yet there was, from the outset, something slightly peculiar about it. Lewis alleged that the assault ("the worst possible") took place in 1983, but apparently it was not so horrible that it put her off working with Polanski, since she appeared in his 1986 film, Pirates.Hey, we are always being told by the Righteous that women who are abused by men can’t be expected to just get away from them. When did the rules change?
I know Polanski well, as we recently collaborated on a film of my novel, The Ghost.Oh, really?
It seems you don’t know him as well as his victim, Samantha Geimer, got to know him. Against her will…
In fairness to the Mail on Sunday, they did at least do a little research in the cuttings library before going to press, and actually included a comment Lewis had made on the record about Polanski in 1986: "I found him very attractive. I'd love to have had a romantic relationship with him – and a physical one. You can't help falling in love with him. But he didn't want me that way." The paper tried to explain away the glaring discrepancy between her stories then and now by saying "at the time she was speaking she was still working for Polanski and, it could be argued, in thrall of him [sic]"Well, that’s again something we are continually told by the Righteous we must bear in mind when women claim abuse.
…there is in the archives a third version of Lewis's relationship with Polanski. A profile, titled "Wild Child", clearly written with the actor's co-operation, appeared in the News of the World on 8 August 1999: "In a no-holds-barred interview Charlotte … confessed how she seduced kinky director Polanski when she was a nubile 17-year-old …" (The Mail on Sunday newspaper makes no mention of this earlier 2,800-word article, leaving it to the online-only version, which reports Lewis to have been "misquoted".)And Mr Harris’s conclusions? It’s all the victim’s fault, is it?
Ah. No. He doesn’t want to be thrown in that briar patch:
It is hard to blame Lewis for the confusion she has spread. If her own account of her life as reported by the News of the World is correct, then she is more to be commiserated with than condemned.Then it’s those bloody meddling lawyers and media is, it, who are cruelly persecuting your chum?
But the behaviour of the media, and of some lawyers in America, is a different matter. The Polanski affair has now become utterly politicised.Funny how that happens when someone flees justice, isn’t it?
The man in charge of the case, the Los Angeles district attorney Steve Cooley, is locked in a tight race for the Republican nomination to become California's attorney general: much of his prominence is down to his high-profile pursuit of Polanski.Actually, finding and trying fugitives from justice is pretty much his job description.
It does not seem to matter that the officers of the court in 1977 recommended that the director should not serve a custodial sentence…Well, Polanski blew that option out of the water by having it away on his toes to a non-extradition country, didn’t he?
A lynch mob is in town, bent on destroying Polanski, whatever the facts of his case or the opinions of his real victim, Samantha Geimer, who has long since publicly forgiven him and asked for him to be left alone.The US isn’t one of those third-world hellholes that accepts blood money. It doesn’t matter what she wants, and quite rightly so. The offence is against the state, not her.
I know few readers will be as sympathetic to Polanski as I am; I understand the instinctive recoil from the crime he committed a third of a century ago. Even so, the scenes at Allred's media circus last Friday ought to make anyone with a vestigial sense of justice shudder at the thought of what will await him if ever he is returned to the United States.Justice. Long denied.
It’s about time…
I'm not sure it makes the slightest difference what the victim of an assualt (sexual or otherwise) thinks decades after the offence.
The offence was committed, a trial was held and (assuming it was fair - another matter entirely) the perp was found to be guilty and ordered to be punished.
So now he should serve his time, no matter that he's managed to avoid the sentence for decades.
How is this so hard?
"The offence is against the state, not her."
Oh yeah, we're all 'shuddering' in case justice catches up with paedophile Polanski.
Just as we're always 'shocked' or 'concerned' - according to the Guardian - when some criminal street-rat gets his/her just desserts.
But but, he's a genius inni?
He cannot be judged by the standards of we mere mortals!
He must be free of petty constraints to produce his art that so enriches our culture!
Well bollocks to that!
Call me old fashioned but if an artist is a complete cunt in real life, that tends to colour my appreciation of his/her whole ouvre.
The bastard was found guilty, even after plea bargaining the charges down to something much less than he actually did to the poor girl, and still didn't have the guts to step up and face the music.
And of course this isn't the only time he's acted in this way. The word is that he has been at it all his life. His casting couch is reputed to have been extremely messy!
Fuck him! I can do without Chinatown and Rosemary's baby.
My the cunt die in prison under the amorous advances of Chopper O'Toole.
Sudden hot weather can make nice folk quite cantankerous, Rab.
Important artistes such as Polanski shouldn't have to be subjected to the same laws as the rest of us. They should be free to rape whomever they want. It's worth it for the art, man.
Stick to writing your shitty alternate history novels, Harris.
If you can't say anything nice, then do...
Ahh, fuck it. Harris is scum. I really do mean he's proper bastarding scum. I like the "third of a century" angle. Corresponds pretty closely to the age difference between Polanski and the 13 year-old girl he drugged and repeatedly sodomised.
I respect you standards here so I'm not going to start on the morally diseased, filthy scuttery of the toilet-licking power-worshipping maggot people that find it in their shrivelled travesties of a conscience to take out an onion for child buggering schiesse like Paedanski.
Oh, I just did start didn't I?
"I'm not sure it makes the slightest difference what the victim of an assualt (sexual or otherwise) thinks decades after the offence."
I mean that we don't leave it to the victim to pursue justice as they will - the state does that on their behalf.
It's 'the Crown vs..' not 'Ms XXX vs...'
Which is as it should be. To prevent people like Polanski buying off their victims.
"He cannot be judged by the standards of we mere mortals!"
There's a definite air of that with all the celebrities that have come forward to defend this man, isn't there?
"Stick to writing your shitty alternate history novels, Harris."
They are pretty awful. Perhaps that's why the need to rub up against - ugh! - Polanski..?
"Oh, I just did start didn't I?"
An acquaintance of mine (old-school lefty, supporter of the USSR and the IRA) was trying to tell me what a brilliant film "Ghost" was and seemed to have trouble understanding my point when I told her that I couldn't believe she'd boycott the goods of entire countries (Israel) on moral grounds but would happily pay money to a man who drugs and anally rapes children. And then she starts coming out with all the crappy defenses Polanski's been spreading all these years. "Yes, well, considering that the age of consent in some American states at the time was only 12..." I actually had to tell this died-in-the-wool feminist that the age of consent is immaterial when the woman doesn't consent. But hey, he made a film critical of Blair, so who cares about a bit of rape, right?
One of the things that's pissed me off about the whole episode is that he is a great film-maker and now I can't bare to watch any of his stuff out of disgust. If he'd kept schtumm, I and thousands of others would have carried on in blissful ignorance of why he was living in France. And now I can't read any Robert Harris. Quite apart from the moral aspect, any man too stupid to figure out from his victim's grand jury testimony that Polanski was rather well practiced at what he was doing is unlikely to be a good novelist.
"...and seemed to have trouble understanding my point when I told her that I couldn't believe she'd boycott the goods of entire countries (Israel) on moral grounds but would happily pay money to a man who drugs and anally rapes children."
Ah, but that's different you see. Don't ask why. It just IS.
And feminists in particular always seem to have glaring blind spots where almost anything can be excused...
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