It's perhaps not that shocking that the film world is rallying around Roman Polanski. After all, plenty of artists over the years have worked with Polanski, all the while fully aware of his crimes. The Academy itself ignored them, awarding Polanski with the honor of Best Director; Harrison Ford ignored them as well, accepting the Oscar on Polanski's behalf.
What is shocking, however, is the support coming from certain liberal columnists. While some present peripheral arguments in support of Polanski, others' comments are more dangerous. In other words, Joan Z. Shore's barely coherent rant against the Swiss is one thing; Anne Applebaum's straight-up apology for child rape is quite another. (And to those who, like Whoopi Goldberg, argue that it wasn't "rape rape," I say yes, it was.)
Applebaum, it should be noted, is married to Radosław Sikorski, the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs. In his role, Sikorski, along with Poland's President Lech Kaczynski, will be appealing to US authorities to drop proceedings against Polanski.
In her recent piece for the Washington Post, entitled "The Outrageous Arrest of Roman Polanski," she failed to disclose that information, later arguing that it's not her responsibility to disclose such information, as she is not a spokesperson for her husband (of course, Applebaum is fully capable of disclosing such information - she's done it before).
Frankly, who Applebaum is married to and what he believes is beside the point, for it is what Applebaum herself believes that is the problem. In her piece, she claims that Polanski has paid for his crime of raping a 13-year-old girl "in notoriety, lawyers' fees, in professional stigma. He could not return to Los Angeles to receive his recent Oscar. He cannot visit Hollywood to direct or cast a film." Oh, the humanity.
As if that weren't enough, Applebaum then turns rape apologist, blaming Polanski's actions on his mother's death at the hands of Nazis in Auschwitz, his father's suffering in Mauthausen, his own survival of the Krakow ghetto, and his wife's murder by the Manson Family. All horrible things to happen to a person, of course, but none an excuse for criminality. Many people suffer; most don't turn to crime.
In fact, let's ponder that one for a moment, shall we? Charles Manson is sitting in a jail cell for the rest of his life for the Tate/LaBianca murders, one of the victims of which was Polanski's second wife, Sharon Tate, and their unborn child. Charles Manson, too, suffered considerably prior to becoming a criminal. He was abandoned by his teenage mother, only to face abuse in the orphanage in which he was placed. At one point, his own mother sold him to a childless waitress. By Applebaum's logic, Manson's crimes should be forgiven, because after all, he suffered so much.
But perhaps most noteworthy in Applebaum's column is her final sentence: "If he weren't famous, I bet no one would bother with him at all." Maybe not. But if Polanski weren't famous, if he hadn't suffered so much and so publicly in the years prior to his crime, he would never have been permitted to leave the country in the first place. Polanski has been given treatment above the law since the day he was arrested. It's time for that era to end.
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