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Woody Allen on Roman Polanski? Really?

By Jo-Ann Armao

LOL. That was my first reaction at seeing Woody Allen’s name on the top of a petition demanding justice for director Roman Polanski. Here, after all, was one pervert using his supposed good name in defense of another: a little like Billy the Kid speaking up for Jesse James.

The more I thought about it, though, the madder and sadder I got. Because fame trumps decency. How else to explain the appalling amount of support for Polanski following his arrest Saturday in Switzerland on a 31-year-old fugitive warrant? Here was a man who copped a plea to having sex with a 13-year-old girl after the victim detailed how he got her naked in a hot tub, plied her with Champagne and Quaaludes and forced sex on her. None of that -- or the fact he fled the country to evade justice -- seemed to matter to his pals in Hollywood or on Europe’s cultural circuit. What’s a little thing like rape when there are movies and money to be made? Not to mention achievement awards at international film festivals.

It still galls me that Woody Allen got a standing ovation when he made a surprise appearance at the Academy Awards in 2002. I don’t care how entertaining his movies might be (I’ve long since boycotted them); why would anyone get to their feet to applaud a man who became involved with the adopted daughter of his longtime girlfriend? Is this the man Hollywood really wants to hold out as someone to be admired and applauded? That Allen eventually married Soon-Yi Previn does not erase the immorality of his attraction to a girl he should have treated as a daughter. (He was 56 when the affair began, and she was 21.) Allen would later tell Vanity Fair that girlfriend Mia Farrow’s discovery of nude pictures of Soon-Yi -- which lead to the couple’s breakup -- was “one of the great pieces of luck in my life.”

Given that obtuseness, why did it surprise me that Allen would actually think it appropriate to lend his name in support of Polanski? Perhaps I thought, like Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez, that “he’d have the good sense to remain silent.” But good and sensible don’t sell.

By Jo-Ann Armao  | September 30, 2009; 5:53 PM ET
Categories:  Armao  | Tags:  Jo-Ann Armao  
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There are better reasons for boycotting Woody Allen movies -- like that he has not made a decent one since the Reagan administration.

Posted by: cletus1 | September 30, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

The Woody Allen comparison to Roman Polanski is apples and oranges. Soon-Yi was over 18 when Allen began dating her and they have sinced married and had children. Not only that, but the relationship between Mia Farrow and Allen was certainly not commonplace, with each maintaining seperate apartments. And while Polanski did indeed rape a child, she has since pleaded with the law to leave him alone. Why are her pleas not taken into consideration?

Posted by: myersdonihoo | September 30, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Polanski - and any other offender - should be held accountable for their crimes. I agree that what Woody Allen did was questionable, but without knowing a lot of the specifics, I can't pass judgement. There were boundaries crossed, but the age difference has nothing to do with it. A big age difference, when there are two adults involved, does not constitute abuse. I'm not defending Allen. I do think one has to be careful about moralism, however. And I disagree about his films; he has done some really wonderful films in the past few years. Let's not trash the guy because he behaved in a morally questionable way.

Posted by: paulhjimerson | September 30, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

From Alison Arngrim, an actress who is best known for her work in “Little House on the Prairie” and who has spoken publicly in the past about having been sexually molested as a child. “If Roman Polanski were a Catholic priest or a Republican senator, would these [Hollywood] people feel the same way?”

Not a bit, Alison.

Also interesting to note that Debra Tate, Polanski's former sister-in-law, who argues that he is a "genius" who should not be prosecuted, appeared at a parole hearing September 2nd to argue against parole for Susan Atkins. Atkins had already served 40 years for her role in the killing of killing Tate's sister. Atkins was dying of brain cancer and her family asked that she be allowed to die at home. The Tate family prevailed, the request was denied. Atkins died
September 25.

Apparently Debra, who says she is "incapable of hate" can excuse rape by a genius but cannot show mercy to a dying old woman.

Posted by: atrepos1 | September 30, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Ask your liberal friends, who's worse: Roman Polanski or Sarah Palin? Make them be specific as to why.

Posted by: JohnSkookum | September 30, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I think a lot of celebrities are informed by the Wanted and Desired documentary and don't have a grasp of the details of the crime.

I think they also look at the plea bargain's zero jail time as being in proportion to the crime. If no prison time, than probably not such a bad crime.

But the plea bargain was based not on the crime but on the desire of the victim to avoid the media frenzy that would have ensued in a trial. In short, Polanski's fame got him out of jail for free.

As these facts come out, and everyone gets better informed, the hollywood types will probably feel less strongly about this whole thing. Right now I think they are just way under-informed.

The same can be said of those folks in the other camp who want to see Polanski crucified.

The details paint a more complicated case.

Posted by: notfromDC | September 30, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I have not seen a Woody film made in the 2000s. After sitting through film atrocity after film atrocity, I checked out in the late 90's. Frankly, being plied with champagne and Quaaludes and sodomized by Mr. Polanski would be preferable at this point to sitting through another of Woody's wet-dreams masquerading as a movie.

Posted by: cletus1 | September 30, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

You put into words just what I was thinking about Woody Allen -- one pervert defending another.

But consider this. Polanski was 43 when he committed the rape. Since then he's continued to show a preference for much younger women (his current wife is 33 years younger). Which makes me wonder what he was doing to women before he was 43? It would be interesting to find out just what his "dating" history was like in his 20s and 30s. From the grand jury description of how he acted in the rape, it seems unlikely that was the first time he did that sort of thing, even if the women were not quite that young. I predict he'd been practicing. And practicing.

Posted by: evelyn911 | September 30, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

When I think of Hollywood, I think of highly paid carnival performers who have somehow gotten the idea that we, in the real world, can't live without them. I read a quote today stating that the nature of artists was such that the their creative spirits made it impossible for them to conform to the constraints placed on them by society. It's doubtful,since many have created magnificent work without flouting the rules of society and poking fun at the very people without whom they could not make a living.

Posted by: amala5 | September 30, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

In answer to myersdonihoo, the pleas of the victim are not taken into account here because we're a nation of laws. Polanski fled justice. I read the grand jury testimony today as well as some of the pre-trial background. Polnanski's attorney's were ready to attack the girl in court, using the full force of his power and wealth against her after having already raped her before. That is the only reason there was any sort of plea bargain. We've never accepted any sort of blame the victim sentiment. Why are we doing it now?

Posted by: amala5 | September 30, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

"The details paint a more complicated case."

It's not complicated at all. Polanski gave drugs and alcohol to an underage girl and then buggered her against her will, despite her protests. This is all captured in about two pages of testimony from her at the time, and it makes it clear as quartz. Polanski is a criminal. While the victim is happy to move on, the rest of us have a considerable stake in the matter. Prosecuting Polanski, even at this late date, will serve the public safety, especially so because of the notoriety of this crime.

Getting into the pants of your girlfriend's willing and of legal age adopted daughter, on the other hand, may seem scandalous to the hoi polloi, but considering that Woody made an honest girl of the wench it's sheer persecution to bring it up at this point. Calling him a "pervert" is definitely beyond the pale.

Posted by: fzdybel | September 30, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Not surprised that Woody Allen would defend Polanski. He took nude photos of her AND started having sex with her when she was 17. Interestingly enough, Allen's film "Manhattan" (released in 1979) featured a plot-line where a 42 yo man dates a 17 yo girl.

Life imitates art, evidently.

Anyway, so what? Woody Allen isn't a lawyer. His opinions won't sway a court, or at least not anymore. His star is in decline, not ascendency. I doubt any judge would be dazzled by him anymore.

Polanski raped her, fled, and has been living in his home country of France. That's not justice. That's not paying for his crime. That's hoping that no one would notice or care that he had fled and he could do whatever he wanted for the rest of his life.

Posted by: Skowronek | October 1, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, the "her" in my first paragraph is about Mia Farrow's daughter, Soon-yi; later Woody Allen's wife.

Posted by: Skowronek | October 1, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

"Ask your liberal friends, who's worse: Roman Polanski or Sarah Palin? Make them be specific as to why."

Easy. Palin, because she is stupid, obnoxious, self aggrandizing, and has the temerity to send her unwed mother of a daughter out to preach abstinence-only.

Too dumb to live.

Posted by: thrh | October 1, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

"Why are her pleas not taken into consideration?"

As in any criminal matter, the transgression is deemed against the state (and all of its citizens) - the victim thoughts, opinions, and wishes - are in fact irrevelant to the substantive case.

Note in this instance Polanski has paid the victim a large sum of cash in lieu of an adjudicated tort action.

Posted by: JET99999 | October 1, 2009 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Woody on Polanski?

Where did Polanski get the Woody put?

Posted by: bug45 | October 1, 2009 1:31 AM | Report abuse

After traveling the world for twenty years, as an American, I have come to find that we maintain a complete double standard. We claim high moral values, or at least most Americans believe we do, yet we have our vices that equal no other country I have ever seem in all my travels. Woody Allen's actions years ago would not have raised an eyebrow anywhere else and nor should then have here. He broke no law yet the press just had a field day with it, the moral majority wanted his career dead, and yet in hindsight given his behavior with his wife and children can you really say truthfully that anything he did was wrong in anyone's eyes? Being of a particular faith does not give you the right to pass judgment on anyone else. Religion does not and cannot establish morality. Laws keep the greater society morally fit and conforming to established standards that the majority find acceptable.

Polanski, well that's an entirely different matter and as many have said there should be no comparison. However, as in all legal matters, some crimes require a victim to press charges, and some do not. If the victim retracts those charges for whatever reason and does not wish to pursue the case than her rights should be respected. The trial involves more than one person and it's possible the victim after all these years would rather not dig up any painful memories, and possible now that she is an adult and able to render her own opinion she might not wish to go down this road. It's still entirely possible even though she was thirteen years old at the time it might have been consensual. America has a very twisted attitude regarding age and relationships. I'm not talking about Polanski here, I'm talking about the Woody Allen and how the rest of the world see's it.

Posted by: me8980109 | October 1, 2009 1:47 AM | Report abuse

The writer feels a bit sexually uptight. The girl who Polanski had his way with asks you not to convict or disturb him. As for Allen he had consentual sex with an adult. The US has a bizzare relationship to sex and violence. Very prudish (did those Pilgrim's lay this stone?)but sexually rebellous along with a very violent society. On the sexual side the Bill Clinton thing comes to mind. So much bru-ha over what? The guy had some sex with a secretary who came onto him - so what? Most of the world are still scratcing their heads over the fuss about that one.

Posted by: Mnnngj | October 1, 2009 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Movie stars should be the last people giving opinions. While they may succeed on the screen, their IQ'S are probably the lowest in the world. Have you seen how pathetic they are for example on Jeopardy? where often some high school kids can be brilliant. Movie stars know nothing, and their judgements should be ignored.
As to the victim deciding whether a criminal act should be punished or pardoned, give me a break.

Posted by: grooves12 | October 1, 2009 2:27 AM | Report abuse

Woody Allen didn't begin DATING Soon-yi when the girl was 21. He MARRIED her at 21, after Mia Farrow discovered nude pictures of the girl at Allen's home.

According to wiki-answers, their affair BEGAN when the girl was 14. She was adopted and brought to this country from Korea by Mia Farrow and Andre Previn when she was 8.

Posted by: atrepos1 | October 1, 2009 2:28 AM | Report abuse

"And while Polanski did indeed rape a child, she has since pleaded with the law to leave him alone."
- - - -

No. This is a completely misleading, wrong, and (I suspect) intentional mischaracterization of what the victim has said.

This makes it sound as if she's absolving him of blame, or saying that he's suffered enough. She said neither.

She has pleaded that the ravening reporter horde leave HER alone, and has told us that, every time this comes up publicly, she is again thrust into the national spotlight - which, in my mind, is just another harm that polanski has done to her life, harm for which he should pay dearly.

To use such a plea by a victim to imply that she requests mercy for her rapist is disgusting.

Posted by: bobby_bb | October 1, 2009 2:49 AM | Report abuse

Woody Allen is a pervert too. I mean he is creepy ... birds of a feather flock together. And these are hollywood types, we expect this stuff out of them. Also those that lend there name to his cause wont be forgot.

This polanski guy has already pleaded guilty. That part of his case is over. The grand jury indicted him on 6 charges and the judge let him plead guilty to a lessor charge, but wasnt going along with the sentence. Polanski knew he was going to get time, and while awaiting sentencing he went on the run. So now all we have to do is sentence him and put him in jail. Dont have to rehash the case.

Luckily the people that have spoke up to for him are seeing that there is no lite at the end of the tunnel for him. Legally he will be sent back to the usa and be sentenced and put in a usa jail. Now they are backing up off of him.

I cant wait for them to get him in the amercian jails so he can pay for his crime... im hoping they treat him like a baby rapist that he is... I wonder if they gonna ask him when he had his last period before they stick it to him... lol

Posted by: ccharles1 | October 1, 2009 3:08 AM | Report abuse

I am not defending either Polanski or Allen, but there are aspects which should be emphasized:
1) Where were the girl's parents & why was she alone in a strange house with a strange man?
2) Who is served by dredging up this case 30 yrs after the fact?
3) Shouldn't it be taken into account that America's underage females have been very effectively protected from this pervert for more than 3 decades?
4) Isn't it worth mentioning that if every male who had sex with a 13-yr-old or other underage teen were tried & convicted, the prison population for this crime would exceed the populations of N.Y., Chicago & L.A. combined?
5) Does it matter at all that the 18-yr-old kid who has consentual sex with his 17-yr-old girlfriend can be tried, convicted & labeled 'sex offender' for the rest of his life---i.e. registered in such a way that he has trouble finding work, a place to live & a private life to call his own?
It seems to me that America deserves to be castigated by the rest of the civilized world for the sexual hypocrisy which is rampant there. My experience with these lovers of 'justice' is that their proper exteriors usually conceal very dirty minds & a very 'do-as-I-say,-not-do-as-I-do' attitude.

Posted by: expatriot1 | October 1, 2009 3:57 AM | Report abuse

How appalling!... How disgusting!...

A standing ovation for a double- crossing jerk, who had no moral restrain to consider his adopted daughter off-limits to his libidinous perverted penchants.

He broke an intimate family relationship between three humans. To get his kicks the so-called Woody the genius broke the heart of his long time partner, and mother of their daughter. I still remember the devastation that she went through.

Now you have them so-called elite, artists, geniuses, super humans, in a word, petitioning for another pervert paedophile: Polanski, and giving a standing ovation to another paedophile.

What a shame!

As shameful as Anne Appelbaum's shocking tripe, yesterday, trying, she too, to give a helping hand, and go and sin no more to poor persecuted Polanski. And she is mother of young girl herself!!!

How nauseating!

All of these people, these so-called celebs and elites just make me sick and furious.

They simply condone the fact that you can rape and sodomise a 13-year old kid (yours or mine) and get a medal for it. Because you know, they are not like me and you. No they are Ubermenschen. The average Jo gets hell in sordid prisons sometimes for indecent behaviour. And no one cares if the social services failed to detect what was wrong with the delinquent before he commited his act. No! just throw the guy in a cell and get going.

Why don't the petitioners ask for the release of all the rapists and paedophiles.

If I had my way, I'd haul all Polanski supporters and throw them in a desert island and let them copulate, sodomise, get stoned and whip and put each other in chain and beat them till they bleed and as they wish.

But far away from us. And have the island surrounded by a wall of shame and let them creep there till everybody forgets the ba$tards' names.

Posted by: bekabo | October 1, 2009 4:43 AM | Report abuse

In the liberal media it's "forced sex". I got news for you, it's called RAPE.

Posted by: gorak | October 1, 2009 4:43 AM | Report abuse

atrepos1, I'm not sure where you got your information, but clearly either you or the source are really bad at math.
Soon-yi was born in 1970. Woody's relationship with her became public in 1992, which would make her 21/22. And they were married in 1997, when she was 27.
I believe it's been stated that the relationship began when she was as young as 19, not 14.
Woody and Mia did have 2 adopted daughters together, and during the long, bitter custody battle, Mia accused him of molesting one of the younger girls, but the court found no evidence to back up those claims.

As for Polanski, despite the seriousness of his crime, the point is that the 42 days he spent in jail as an "evaluation" was an inappropriate use of the judge's authority, and was a longer sentence than either the defense or prosecution expected him to receive as a result of the plea bargain. So he already has theoretically served his time. He fled to avoid a further inappropriate sentencing from a judge who almost everyone has agreed was far more interested in his public image than in the application of the law. (Cause those are so rare in California.)
You can argue all you want that he should have received a harsher sentence back then, but it's a moot point. And be honest about the fact that the current situation has absolutely nothing to do with justice, but is just a publicity stunt by a DA office that should be spending its already strained time and money on things that actually matter to and will improve the lives of the people of LA.

Posted by: ocms24 | October 1, 2009 5:08 AM | Report abuse

Fails to state exactly what laws Woody Allen broke when he married a 21 year old woman.

How does a 13 year old girl land in a Hollywood director's hot tub in the first place?

Isn't the child's mother guilty of some crime for permitting this? With what crime was she indicted?

What about the child? She knew that she was too young to drink alcohol and that she had no prescription for the pill offered her. Why was there no equal justice under the law?

Posted by: blasmaic | October 1, 2009 5:56 AM | Report abuse

The timing of Polanski's arrest is in fact, quite delicious. Anyone remembering Ambrose Bierce's short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" would see the humor and irony. Just as Polanski is about to be lauded for "Lifetime Achievement" the noose snaps his neck. Oh yes, his lifetime did include that child rape, didn't it?

While opinion in France may be divided over whether confessed rapist Roman Polanski should face the sentencing he fled, French jurisprudence has long since spoken. Aamon Chemouil, a French citizen, was convicted and jailed by a French court "for having violated the penal code of 1994 by sexually violating a minor". He committed this act in Thailand. French authorities acted on video evidence obtained by the Swiss, who had arrested Chemouil's fellow sex tourist. That French officials now decry our justice system as overreaching betrays ignorance of not only our laws but their own.

Posted by: eebsnallof | October 1, 2009 6:16 AM | Report abuse

How in heaven's name can anyone connect Sarah Palin and Polanski in this situation?
You gotta have some weird thought process!

Posted by: Mecarswell | October 1, 2009 6:27 AM | Report abuse

The first time I have ever seen Ms Armao's name in the Post. If this skewed claptrap is anything to go by, I'll not be reading much more of her work.

Posted by: Misbourne | October 1, 2009 6:30 AM | Report abuse

Why should Woody Allen have treated Soon-Yi like a daughter when Soon-Yi herself said she did not treat him as a father figure? Soon-Yi already had (and has) a father, Andre Previn.

Posted by: angelas1 | October 1, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

"[Polanski] fled to avoid a further inappropriate sentencing from a judge who almost everyone has agreed was far more interested in his public image than in the application of the law."

And if you do that, the law has all rights to hunt you down, bring you back to a judge, and add extra time for fleeing.

What is moot is whether Polanski did or didn't serve enough time, or if his victim wishes him to be left alone. Polanski is a fugitive. His proper lawful behavior should have been to have gone to court, receive his sentence, and have his lawyers file appeals.

Polanski wasn't fleeing to evade an unjust capricious judge. He was fleeing to avoid any punishment. He's a coward, and doesn't believe what he did to the girl was wrong. He justified it by saying all men wish to have sex with young girls, and stated he's being prosecuted because of their jealousy that he actually did it.

Every criminal who opts to flee ought to fully expect that they are at risk of being caught again and prosecuted.

Posted by: hitpoints | October 1, 2009 6:54 AM | Report abuse

The perversity may be greater than any of us imagine. I have been looking at pornography on the internet--and no, I am not going to defend myself by saying my interest is strictly intellectual although I am an intellectual--and I have been disturbed by something I really never noticed creeping up (because I have never really been into pornography, in fact only recently have I gotten interested). The thing that disturbs me is that most of the women have shaved vaginas, as if trying as much as possible to be girls for grown men. I am 45 and grew up with women with unshaved vaginas, and I prefer such, so to me all this shaved vagina business is disturbing. What next? Child pornography legal? What made things even more disturbing and confused, is I started looking at Japanese pornography because the women there have unshaved vaginas--and as I said, I prefer such. But although the Japanese women had unshaved vaginas, their behavior in sex was as if they were girls, crying out in child-like voices. I suppose it must be a cultural thing, because they seemed to act on cue (vaginal penetration). So I really have no idea what to make of things. The Western women acted like women during sex, but have shaved vaginas. The Japanese women act like little girls, but have unshaved vaginas. What does all this mean? Is it some sort of increasing insecurity on the part of man in the modern world? Is this a pretty much unspoken or hushed up or undiscovered part of man trying not to get out of adolescence or something? Peter Pan syndrome and child pornography having more than a secret connection? Was this not something of Michael Jackson's problem what with accusations of child molestation and his always trying to be something of a man-child? I think all this needs to be explored further. Fortunately in the modern age we have many people willing to investigate this and that. No doubt a discussion on it will start soon. Or perhaps the discussion has already started and I have just been missing it. Perhaps someone can explain things to me a little better. All I can think of saying is that I prefer women with unshaved vaginas.

Posted by: daniel12 | October 1, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: daniel12 | October 1, 2009 7:06 AM |

Thank you Daniel for sharing that, although I believe you could have kept it to yourself without ANY consequences!

Posted by: Peaceful2009 | October 1, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

I think a lot of people are missing the point about Woody Allen. The age difference has nothing to do with it. The point is he helped RAISE his wife! He was THE father figure in her life. It doesn’t matter that she was not his biological daughter; he was her father by function, by the fact that he was with her mother, rather through adoption or not. What is the difference between what he did and what Mackenzie Phillips father did – other than the fact that he had enough self control (and was probably frightened enough about rape charges) that he waited until she turned 18 (if that is indeed true). He was the father who watched her grow, helped her along the way, gave her baths, helped with homework, and most importantly was a part of her life and gave her a feeling of fatherly security. So then, this same little girl who is now 18, looks at him as a sexual partner. And, if by coincidence as soon as she becomes of age he starts to sleep with her? At least John Phillips had drug addiction as an excuse (of course there is NO excuse), but what is Woody’s…?

Posted by: Zo5508 | October 1, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Young people should be given the chance to decide who they are and what they are without intervention by an adult. It ruins lives. Thats why we have laws, and when you violate those laws you should pay the price.

Posted by: hipshot | October 1, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

How does the passing of time erase a crime of this nature? Getting a 13 year old girl drunk and high and assaulting her is a crime. It doesn't matter if it happened yesterday or 50 years ago. The victim's plea to drop the case are not relevant. He committed a crime and he should be held accountable.

Some crimes tend to lose their "edge" as our moral standards change: is it now OK to drug and rape a 13 year old girl? Being a father may sharpen my opinions, but I think the guy should his remaining years in a federal institution for the criminally smug and stupid.

Posted by: davecheeney | October 1, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

From expatriot1

I am not defending either Polanski or Allen, but there are aspects which should be emphasized:
1) Where were the girl's parents & why was she alone in a strange house with a strange man?

It does not matter. Polanski raped her, now you are blaming not just the victim but the victims mother? Do you know where your child is every minute of every day?

2) Who is served by dredging up this case 30 yrs after the fact?

The law. We are a nation of laws, if we forget that then what is next? Oh its been 10 years since the murder, and he has been a nice guy since, so forget about it.
Putting aside the initial crime, he left the country to avoid the sentencing. He skipped out on a crime he pled guilty to. That in itself is a crime.

3) Shouldn't it be taken into account that America's underage females have been very effectively protected from this pervert for more than 3 decades?


4) Isn't it worth mentioning that if every male who had sex with a 13-yr-old or other underage teen were tried & convicted, the prison population for this crime would exceed the populations of N.Y., Chicago & L.A. combined?

I see a huge difference between consentual sex at any age that the RAPE of a female at any age. The girl was drugged and still managed to say no. He pled guilty.

5) Does it matter at all that the 18-yr-old kid who has consentual sex with his 17-yr-old girlfriend can be tried, convicted & labeled 'sex offender' for the rest of his life---i.e. registered in such a way that he has trouble finding work, a place to live & a private life to call his own?
It seems to me that America deserves to be castigated by the rest of the civilized world for the sexual hypocrisy which is rampant there. My experience with these lovers of 'justice' is that their proper exteriors usually conceal very dirty minds & a very 'do-as-I-say,-not-do-as-I-do' attitude.

I agree that classifing consentual sex between teenagers as a crime is wrong, but it has NOTHING to do with the rape of a child that the perp had drugged. Not to mention that he admitted to these acts by pleading guilty. Yes, go ahead and call Americans hypocritical uptight puritans. That is quite true but it is also true that Mr. Polanski drugged and raped a child and fled the country after pleading guilty because he was afraid to face the consequences of his actions. He belongs in jail.

Posted by: KarenST | October 1, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

It is hard to understand why it took 31 years to get Polanski. Another the action of the judge. Than one that goes to jail it isn't like club med. Now that we are trying to reform health care maybe it is time to reform our judicial system. As many african-american go to jail as go to college. Do they get a four year degree at state pen. It seems that americans could not be very good people when more of them go to jail than in other countries.

There is no doubt that Polanski should have gone to jail but at this point do we ask what about the germans that killed during WWII. Could not put everyone in jail, so we had to be selective about which killers went to jail and which got a free pass. A free pass for murder. I can't say that I fully understand the system, but politics is part of it.

Posted by: artg | October 1, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what Michael Jackson would do?

Posted by: CHICO13 | October 1, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

-- one pervert defending another.--Dear Ms. Armao, Please tell your readers what your stance was when then President Clinton was receiving oral sex from a subordinant White House employee, young enough to be his daughter. Was that wrong? Was President Clinton wrong?

Posted by: | October 1, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

The funniest part of all these comment sections is that, normally, no one is really aware of what Polanski was charged with. He was faced 6 charges, each of which should have resulted in more than 90 days in jail. People want to comment on how the US has vilified him, or, more accurately, how Europeans believe that we are going overboard, but I heard a report this morning that 70% of the French populace support what is taking place...that he should be held responsible. It is the French elite that are calling the determination by the US legal system ludicrous. I wonder what they would say if they actually read what he was charged with?

If you want to, here you go:

Posted by: cmub | October 1, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

its good to know that not all of the WAPO has lost its mind. Good post.

Posted by: awalker1972 | October 1, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Equating Allen and Polanski is wrong. Reprehensible is not the same as criminal. Allen is a pig but Polanski IS a convicted rapist and fugitive: he broke the law and thumbed his nose at us for 31 years.

It's galling to see Allen's obliviousness to the irony of his support just as it's revolting to see his pomposity and pretension about the value of his opinion. But no matter how sickening he is, Allen is neither a criminal nor a fugitive and, as much as I hate to, I have to admit a tiny particle of grudging respect for the fact that, sick as it seems, his relationship with Previn has lasted, he owned up to it and, unlike Polanski, he didn't flee the country when caught.

Saying Allen is like Polanski puts Allen on a plane he doesn't belong (criminal) and elevates Polanski to a stature he doesn't deserve: an artist with peculiar, borderline tastes.

Others have spoken well about the twisted Hollywood culture that could justify anything about Polanski. Allen exemplifies that tortured logic (in more ways than he apparently realizes). Be careful how you castigate Allen though, because as an icon of fuzzy-headed star worship you're on solid ground. As an example of that same fuzzy headed logic that could excuse and tolerate screwing your "wife's" "daughter" you're still on solid ground. But when you start talking about judging Allen's conduct itself, you get to slippery ground that makes it possible to argue that Polanski's actions are just a more extreme example of Allen's.

Clearly not true. Polanski's guilt is a difference in kind, not degree.

Posted by: joebanks | October 1, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

jnrentz, and anyone else who misses the point, for Clinton and for Nixon it wasn't what was done that they were guilty of, it was the cover up and the way in which they went about it. For instance, the break-in of the Watergate wasn't directly sanctioned by Nixon. It was undertaken by the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP, I'm not kidding about the acronym). When Nixon found out about it he actually displayed too much loyalty in the wrong direction and, in so doing, covered it up. Over the course of the following years the recordings, everything was indicative that he found out about it and did everything he could to make sure his subordinates weren't held accountable. For Clinton, having Lewinsky go down on him wasn't a crime...she was well over 18, it was both the manner in which he covered it up and the fact that he defiled the "Office of the President of the United States." The US is different from every other nation where we have a single leader who fills 5 separate roles, one of which is ceremonial. Imagine if the Queen of England were found to be having similar dealings with an intern...are you telling me that the English public wouldn't be ashamed, or even outraged? They, of course, couldn't/wouldn't remove her from the throne but it would sour their view of her.

Posted by: cmub | October 1, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Wow - Great write Jo-Ann! There is a complete list of the petition signers here:

Posted by: offersave | October 1, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

The respect for the rule of law has reached an all time low. Woody Allen may have done something that people find repugnant and they are perfectly within their reason to boycott his product and be appalled when he is applauded but Woody Allen is completely free from debt to society.

Roman Polanski is not. He violated society's standards as written in law and has flouted justice, his victim's pleading notwithstanding.

I suppose I should have known that people no longer viewed the rule of law as sacrosanct during the debacle in the last part of the administration of #42.

Posted by: edbyronadams | October 1, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Wow, can't believe there are actually people on here defending a guy who sodomized a 13yr old girl who he had drugged! The court records show that she pleaded for him to stop. He pled guilty to the crime. There's no ambiguity here, the man savagely raped an innocent 13yo girl, imagine your own daughters, sisters, nieces, going through that same harrowing experience and then tell me you think he should be forgiven.

Posted by: ChangeIsNotAStrategy | October 1, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Thanks offersave, that list is not as Hollywood as I was led to believe. In fact, the vast majority are French which, of course, means: who gives a sh!t.

Posted by: joebanks | October 1, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

daniel12 -

the only discussion you need to concern yourself with is one with a good therapist.

good god man, get some help!

Posted by: hmfmcg | October 1, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Jo Ann must not read the washington post op-ed page all that much.

But hey, if drugging and raping children is OK with Washington Post columnists Anne Applebaum and Richard Cohen, it should be good enough for Woody Allen and the Hollywood crowd too.

Posted by: brendancalling1 | October 1, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Those in the movie industry look out for others in the movie industry while politicans look out for their fellow politicians.

Posted by: whocares666 | October 1, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Not only have a bunch of Hollywood types defended Polanski, but also a lot of people in Europe, including Bernard Kouchner, the French Foreign Secretary in the Sarkozy administration. Fortunately the Swiss are behaving correctly, insisting on following their own legal procedures. Personally I think Polanski, who admitted his guilt on at least one count, was wrong to flee the US when he learned that the judge in his case was going to back out of the plea deal. The legal solution for him was to go to trial. He has been a fugitive all this time and he should be brought back to face the music.

Posted by: troisieme | October 1, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I am appalled at some of the posts here.
1. the opinion of a has been actor (or any actor) is irrelevant. it should be given the attention it deserves (none.)
2. A mature adult having sex with a 13 year old is rape. Drugging a woman and having sex with her is rape regardless of her age.
3. You people who say things like "why aren't her pleas taken into consideration" expose yourselves as totally ignorant of the psycology of abused children. As a person who fosters abused children I can tell you that the repercussions from such despicable acts reverberate though a childs life forever .. and the lives of everyone around them. I have witnessed too many sunny happy beautiful children turned into scared, distrustful, violent creatures who do unspeakable things to have any sympathy for a MONSTER like Polanksy who is willing to destroy a child (yes, destroy. the child that was there before is dead forever and changed into something else.) for a few minutes of sexual gratification. I have in my own house had children hit me, kick me, attack me with weapons, kill pets, throw urine in my face,
expose themselves to me and I am just getting started. None of these children were over eight by the way. I am a strong man. I am a blackbelt in Kempo. You could put cigarettes out on my arm and I would laugh in your face. But I have had to lock myself in my room and sob uncontrollably in impotent despair and rage because of animals like this. Expressions of sympathy for this predator are chilling to me and if commisurate or sympathize for such a person then you need to see somebody. You know why, even if those around you don't. There isn't a hell hot enough for child rapists like Polansky.
'nuff said

Posted by: Tigerdan | October 1, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Ask your liberal friends, who's worse: Roman Polanski or Sarah Palin? Make them be specific as to why.

Posted by: JohnSkookum
Ask your liberal or conservative or moderate friends who is dumber: the person JohnSkookum or a wooden post. Make them be specific as to why.

Posted by: alamo2 | October 1, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

What a stupid column! Imagine boycotting works of art because you don't like the personality of the artist. What would one do with Knut Hamsun, Richard Wagner, D.W. Griffith et al.

As for Polanski, he is a genius and "Chinatown" is worth any number of 13-year old girls.

Posted by: mitt1968 | October 1, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

mitt1968 - - you really need therapy, a movie is "worth any number of 13yo girls". I've never heard a more misogynistic statement.

Posted by: ChangeIsNotAStrategy | October 1, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

My earlier post about what was dumber, JohnSkookum or a post is moot. It is clear tht mitt1968 is dumber -- and about as sick a poster I have ever read!!

Posted by: alamo2 | October 1, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Replying to:

"I think a lot of celebrities are informed by the Wanted and Desired documentary and don't have a grasp of the details of the crime.

I think they also look at the plea bargain's zero jail time as being in proportion to the crime. If no prison time, than probably not such a bad crime.

But the plea bargain was based not on the crime but on the desire of the victim to avoid the media frenzy that would have ensued in a trial. In short, Polanski's fame got him out of jail for free.

As these facts come out, and everyone gets better informed, the hollywood types will probably feel less strongly about this whole thing. Right now I think they are just way under-informed.

The same can be said of those folks in the other camp who want to see Polanski crucified.

The details paint a more complicated case.

Posted by: notfromDC "

Well said, notfromdc. Too bad most of the other comments posted here show far more passion than thought. For instance, those who assert that we should ignore the victim's repeated statements that she opposes prosecuting Polanski forget that sentencing trials take into account victim impact statements.

Let me be clear: I am NOT condoning in any way what Polanski did. I am dismayed that the original plea bargain--which the judge in the case was poised to vitiate, let us not forget--did not call for even token jail time. (If it were up to me, Polanski would have gone to prison for some time.)

But the absolutists who cannot even acknowledge that there are mitigating factors here are clearly ONLY interested in punishment, not justice. And following that instinct will ultimately do real harm to our judicial system.

Posted by: DCSteve1 | October 1, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

And mitt1968 - - you're suggesting that some people want Polanski prosecuted because we don't "like the personality of the artist": so that's what rape and sodomy are, just personality quirks? So what if he drugs 13yo girls and does them backdoor while they scream for him to stop, that's just his way, huh? You're scary man, get some help...

Posted by: ChangeIsNotAStrategy | October 1, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

RE: myersdonihoo - “And while Polanski did indeed rape a child, she has since pleaded with the law to leave him alone. Why are her pleas not taken into consideration?”

Given that the lawsuit she brought against Mr. Polanski was settled out of court and the details not disclosed, we cannot know for sure what agreement the two parties reached.

However, it is completely reasonable to assume that the terms of that settlement included a clause prohibiting the victim from pursuing criminal charges against the rapist.

Any attorney worth their salt would have insisted on that clause to protect their client. How much money exchanged hands? We do not know. But this smells of collusion.

Regardless, if we were to take the pleas seriously, let’s examine the circumstances.

A 13-year-old little girl was raped and sodomized by a 40+-year-old man. These are not suppositions, but facts confirmed by both the victim and Mr. Polanski in their statements made at the time.

What type of harm was caused this child by this crime? We know that these types of assaults adversely affect the psyche of the victims, regardless of age. How many pedophiles commit their crimes only once?

Please note that her testimony shows how she repeatedly told Mr. Polanski “No” during the assault. Would it be reasonable to assume that this caused irreparable harm to the victim and thus tainted her opinion of the rapist 30 years later?

Posted by: kenskorupski | October 1, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Agreed that there are mitigating factors in the Polanski case. His was a real crime, however, and the pros and cons of his eventual sentencing need to be heard in court.

People may consider Woody Allen smarmy or repulsive, it's their call, but his (mis)deeds do not rise to the level of Polanski's crime. Allen's partner was at the age of consent, and the relationship was consensual.

Posted by: trobador | October 1, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe that mitt1968 said that "Chinatown" is worth any number of 13 year old girls. I appreciate works of art and enjoyed the movie Chinatown, but none of that is worth damaging a life. It's worth pointing out that many in Hollywood have no problem with exploiting children in a number of ways for the sake of art. The fact that the girl in the Roman Polanski case was there with her mother's permission does not excuse what he did. Bad parenting shouldn't give predators an opening to violate children. Whatever you may think, a 13 year old girl is still a child and deserves society's protection. RP may not be a danger to other's now, but that is not the point of our legal system. Justice is the point of our legal system. He choice to evade justice. In addition, other older adults who would choose to behave this way will watch how our judicial system treats this case.

Posted by: amala5 | October 1, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Roman Polanski committed a crime. Woody Allen is guilty only of arrogance and a lack of any type of conscience or sense of how an adult acts in society, especially toward one's long-time lover and her children.

I hope that one consequence of this entire sordid support of Polanski is that people ask themselves whether Hollywood's support of any particular cause or candidate is worth even considering, given its collective contempt for holding its members subject to any standards of law or morals, even the most fundamental ones protecting children from becoming the prey of sexual deviants.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | October 1, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

By the way, keep a close eye on your children. In my personal experience the abuser is almost always a trused person close to or in the family...

Posted by: Tigerdan | October 1, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Oops I meant trusted

Posted by: Tigerdan | October 1, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Brietbart hinted on Fox News "Red Eye" Tuesday night that there were more cases involving Polanski and underage girls -- Polanski may be on the verge of getting "ACORNed"...

Posted by: wfnaegele | October 1, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Good lord -- somebody ADMITS that they watch Fox News! That simply isn't done in educated circles...

Posted by: mitt1968 | October 1, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

1) A Washington Post writer begins her column with "LOL"? Yeah, very professional. Did you graduate from college at all, Ms. Armao?

2) Who the hell are you to judge the fully legal, and rather commonplace, relationship between a 56-year-old and 21-year-old? "Should have treated her like his daughter"? Says who? You? And oh pray tell, why is your opinion so special or authoritative?

Posted by: eugene8 | October 1, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

You throw the word pervert around pretty loosely. Get some help for your repressive sexuality. Yeah, Polanski's acts were criminal and I could understand using the term for his choices, but Allen, as has been explained above, was very different. Personally I am not attracted to younger women, I mean younger than say 35, so I do not empathize with Allen, but I suspect that all who describe Allen as a pervert need some couch time.

Posted by: jim4postnatl | October 1, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"Ask your liberal friends, who's worse: Roman Polanski or Sarah Palin? Make them be specific as to why." - John Skookum
Um, really? You think these two are on par? That they have anything remotely to do with each other?

No, and your apple/orange comparison won't stand.

So you want specifics? Okay, here you go: Palin, yes, is worse. Why?

Here's what Roman Polanski ran for in 2008:

(In case it's confusing, 'nothing' is the answer).

Here's what Palin ran for: Vice-President

Here's what that means: someone who is as divisive as Cheney, as hateful, as un-American, tried to make herself next in line to rule this free nation with her narrowminded, ignorant, just plain illogical head.

What's that? Un-American you say? Yes, she is: she wants to abolish women's rights, she actively worked to divide Americans into "real" ones and not, and now she's trying to derail desperately needed health coverage for, ironically, many of her supporters who are poor/rural because she wants insurance companies to keep their money.

I don't care what happens to the director, but I do care who gets to decide American policy, and I don't want some dimwit to do it: we had that once and look where we are.

But hey, thanks for letting me clarify it for you.

Posted by: nagatuki | October 1, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

We are one weird country. Read the European press if you want a rational take on Polanski and his accuser (who has stated repeatedly that she wants to DROP the charges).

The 70s were another country. A lot of people did things that would quickly get them arrested, busted, or otherwise shunned today.

And why is our government going after Polanski when Bush and Cheney are still wandering free? Even assuming the worst of Polanski, he wasn't an international war criminal...

Posted by: drankland | October 1, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday Woopi Goldberg said that Mr. Polanski's act was "not rape rape". Several people have used the "rape rape" defense including Sharon Tate's sister. Huh?
13 years old? drugged? I just do not get it.
What are the current and future rapists and victims out there thinking about all this?
Sad, really really sad.

Posted by: dds35day | October 1, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

To: myersdonihoo:

It's the law that adults cannot have any sexual contact with minors in this country.

He was 43, she was need to keep focused on that fact, he drugged a minor to have sex........say it again, he drugged a minor to have sex......he didn't rob a liquor store............he drugged a minor to have sex.

Apparently, you have never seen Dateline to Catch a Predator? They put people in jail, including a Rabbi in Northern Virginia a year ago, for having inapporpiate internet contact (pictures /langauage) with a minor in a sting. In these Dateline sting operations they caught a wide range of professionals engaging in this criminal activity and what was so unique about their arrest is the victims they thought were under age boys and girls didn't actually exist. AND YET THEY STILL PUT THEM IN JAIL .........

But according to you because the victim who is older now and who got a cash settlment from RP it's all water under the bridge now. Are we suppose to let those arrested on Dateline be released as well because they are fake child actors?

Once again, he drugged a 13 year old to have sex. You getting the picture? now??

Posted by: ljonesjr | October 1, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

It does seem laughable at first glance that Woody Allen is defending Roman Polanski. But their cases are different. Allen didn't ply Soon-Yi with qualudes and champagne, rape her, and then flee the country rather than face jail time. However, what Allen did sneaking around with Mia Farrow's adopted daughter behind her back, having sex with her, and taking naked pictures of her is morally questionable. Farrow was after all his lover for 10 years and the mother of his son. Also Soon-Yi was a willing participant. The other girl was sexually violated against her will.

I think Polanski should be brought back to this country and made to face the court that he ran away from and accept his sentence like everybody else. Justice will then be served. No one should be above the law, not even a wealthy, talented, and world-renowned director. In fact, letting him off would send a bad message to the rest of the world - that we let off rapists of underage girls if the perpetrator has enough fame and money and fans rooting for him.

Posted by: Margay | October 1, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I very much agree. Woody Allen is the perfect example of the self indulgent artist who considers his personal needs and enjoyment more important than the pain and suffering his action causes others. He never thought for a moment that pleasuring himself with his girl friend's teenage daughter would forever sever her relationship with her mother, nor did he care that besides the pain of a mere breakup, how deeply and tragically scared Mia would be by his unltimate and complete betrayal of any trust she placed in him.

We all know the excitement and thrill of a new relationship and the passion and lure of such an adventure. But we also know full well that there are lines that should never be crossed because of our responsiblity to our family, friends and to society. It is not so difficult to hold back before entering those taboo regions, but once having crossed over the fall is swift and the descent to hell inevitable.

One dirt bag movie director defending another dirt bag movie director would make a good movie but doing it in real life just stinks to high hell.

Posted by: maddymappo | October 1, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

As a liberal, I'd be grateful if posters like drankland would cease from conflating Polanski's case with unanswered questions from the Bush Administration. Neither justifies the other, and it is completely irrelevant unless the LA County DA's Office dropped an investigation of Bush to chase Polansky (which of course it didn't). The fact there is cowardice and mendacity in Washington has nothing to do with Polanski, it's just more squid ink sprayed out by Polanski's aplogists to conceal the central and agreed upon facts of his squalid crime. I have seen zero evidence that attitudes toward Polanski break down along political lines, so I would appreciate it if people would stop treating this as just another political "gotcha" issue.

Posted by: benjaminanderson | October 1, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Forget the age for a moment. Even if she was the age of consent, drugging a woman and having sex with her is still rape.

Then add in the age and its a whole new crime. Both bad. Yes. Horrible.

now think of the fact that the crime is sexual in nature (whether they called it rape or inappropriate sexual contact) and realize that people who commit these kind of crimes usually do repeat.

I don't care if he's in his 70s or in his 90s... he committed the crime, he fled, and has been considered a fugitive ever since. He needs to pay for his crime, no matter who he is.

Posted by: kristenleakennedy47 | October 1, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

DC Steve. What mitigating circumstances? He admitted drugging and sodomizing a child who was pleading for him to stop. It is accepted fact that child molesters cannot be cured. He and his ilk need to be removed from society forever. Many child molesters are remarkably sophisticated and patient in their methods. Many child molesters abuse dozens of children before they are caught. Most of the perps who have abused the childen I have had in my care (sexual or otherwise) get away scot free. Usually because the only witness is too young to testify. Ex. a 2 year old with more than 10 healed untreated broken bones. Neither the mother or the scumbag she blamed it on were arrested because there were no witnesses. Unbelieveably they gave her the kid back because she said the man was no longer living in the household. Six months later the kid is back in the hospital and guess what? The man was living in the house again. Still, neither one was prosecuted. The woman still maintains she did nothing wrong. A man in her bed is more important than the safety of her child. I wonder where she learned that? P.S. She manages a health care practice near you. Think about that next time you sign in, fill out the form and give it to the smiling lady behind the desk.

Posted by: Tigerdan | October 1, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Tigerdan, my hat is off to you. Sometimes anonymous internet posting leads to dehumanizing of those with whom we disagree, but we shouldn't lose sight of what binds us as well as separates us. Thanks for sharing your story.

Posted by: benjaminanderson | October 1, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Ask your liberal friends, who's worse: Roman Polanski or Sarah Palin? Make them be specific as to why.

Posted by: JohnSkookum | September 30, 2009 8:14 PM

That's a ridiculous comparison. And I am offended by the implication that just because a few looney Hollywood types sign a petition demanding "justice" for Roman, that all liberals think his crime should be excused. Read Eugene Robinson's column on the subject.

Posted by: creatia52 | October 1, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

drankland wrote (snippet):

The 70s were another country. A lot of people did things that would quickly get them arrested, busted, or otherwise shunned today.

Got news for you. Giving a 13 yo alcohol is a crime. Ditto for giving a 13 yo a qualuude, or any other prescription medication that was not prescribed to the 13 yo by hizzer physician. Raping a 13 yo is a crime.

It was in the 1970's, it certainly remains so today.

He pled guilty. He ran away because he heard a rumour that the judge may have had something more than 42 or 96 days in a psychiatric ward.

But guess what? He could have APPEALED that ruling if he had stuck around. But no! Now he's going to have to go through another trial because he is a fugitive.

The French government making a stink and protecting him doesn't interest me one whit. Remember, the French government wanted Ira Einhorn to not be returned to the United States, either. (Einhorn murdered his girlfriend, dismembered her, stuffed her in a trunk and ran away to France. They didn't have a problem with his actions in the U.S. I imagine they would have felt differently if he had commited his crime in France and ran away.)

Plus Dr. D. Gajdusek. His Nobel prize for work that led to the discovery and understanding of prions (think CJD, BSE, Kuru) trumps Polanski's films; he served 19 months in jail for his crimes.

Posted by: Skowronek | October 1, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

A few things - Woody Allen's situation was quite different, as noted upthread, and he was applauded because he generally doesn't attend the Oscars despite being often nominated, he's inextricably linked with New York City, and it was the first Oscars after 9/11. If you don't like Allen or Polanksi as people, that's fine - and there's far more reason for that in Polanksi's case - but it is possible to dislike them and still appreciate their artistry.

Posted by: Bat99 | October 1, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Funny how some people claim time doesn't change anything, and yet here is one small example. In 1946 Menahem Begin, planted a bomb in a hotel in London and killed 46 people. He then went on to become Prime Minister of Israel in 1977, a known and wanted fugitive on Interpol's list.

Over the next years he meet with countless heads of state including US Presidents, traveled the world and no one cared to arrest him on the outstanding warrant.

People here have have said gee "Wiki" says Allen started having sex at 14 with this girl. These same dolts don't realize they can edit that information themselves which makes that site pretty much just garbage.

At Polanski's trial it was reported in the court recordings that they had consensual sex, now say what you want about the age, but as may here have mentioned if you locked up everyone that had sex with a minor in this country, regardless of your age at the time, because remember, age doesn't matter, so if your a 55 year old or a 15 year old your still committing a crime and according to those here and their views you should be locked up.

The defendant in this case came out in a public interview and said she wished they would not prosecute Mr Polanski. You see when the morality police in this country don't agree with someone, even the defendant they just twist the facts to suit their needs.

Times have changed since Polanski committed his crime, sentences are stricter for certain crimes but that doesn't mean we apply today's standards to a crime that took place 30 years ago. It doesn't make it right, but how many rapists or persons convicted of vehicular homicide never spent a day in jail back than?

Religion ruins everything in this world, they simply sell you a bill of goods and ask that you believe... as they take your hard earned money and go rape the young children of your church, keep the faith brother, just don't let your kids hang around the pastor.

Posted by: me8980109 | October 1, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

me8980109, are you on the guy's payroll? Sheesh, I've never seen so many posters so dishonest about a simple criminal matter. It was not consensual sex, she said "no" several times, the plea bargain to statuatory rape was to protect her from publicity. Yet again and again, (the same?) posters continue to bring up every excuse in the book. It's the girl's fault (I actually read someone ask why she wasn't prosecuted for illegal intoxication!), the mom's fault, Christianity's fault (I'm neither Christian nor religious, but this is just silly), the DA's fault, etc. and ad nauseum. Oh and don't forget the "spare the poor taxpayers" argument too, which is equally absurd. Seriously what is wrong with you people and why do you want so badly for this man to skate on a rape charge? I didn't really care all that much a few days ago, but I must say I am now irresistably drawn to the most widespread outbreak of moral relativism since the OJ trial.

Posted by: benjaminanderson | October 1, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the truer-than-true words about religion. It is poison. And why is there all the fuss about Polanski when the Vatican has given a pat on the back (and elsewhere) to pederast priests all the way back to Peter?

Posted by: ReaganHumpedDogs | October 1, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Mitt1968 wrote:

"As for Polanski, he is a genius and "Chinatown" is worth any number of 13-year old girls."

Isn't it ironic that in Chinatown, the moral depravity of at the core of the whole scandalous world Jack Nicholsom's character uncovers is the incestuous rape of Faye Dunaway as a young girl by her father, played by John Huston, her giving birth to a daughter, and the machinations of her corrupt father to have sex with his own daughter/grandaughter, and Faye Dunaway's attempts to prevent this?

If Chinatown is "worth" the rape of 13-year old girls, what's the point of the movie, since it seeks to uncover and expose the moral corruption of men who rape 13-year old girls. This is like suggesting the Holocaust is justified if it leads to beautiful movies like Schindler's list.

I read Chinatown as Polanski's admission of guilt in the seduction and corruption of young girls, which our society has kept under the covers for way too long. It is indeed a remarkable work of art, but it would be much better for us all if Polanski were not guilty of the crimes which in part led him to make the film in the first place. Better the Holocaust never happened than that so many touching movies have been made about it.

As for Woody Allen, give the man a break. Whatever moral wierdness might have been associated with his relationship with Soon-yi has been, in my view, vindicated by their subsequent marriage and happy, healthy family life since. Not every marriage begins immaculately, but those that endure and prosper demonstrate that a genuine love was at their core all along. It was right to question Allen's relationship to Soon-yi, but I think time has answered those questions positively.

Posted by: conradg1 | October 1, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

conradg1, thanks for the reminder that amidst all the acrimony and name-calling on the WaPo comment boards there are still comments, such as yours, that are worth reading and thinking about.

Posted by: benjaminanderson | October 1, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else think perhaps Mitt1968 was being sarcastic?

Given the nature of "Chinatown" and its theme, to praise the movie as worth the rape of 13yo girls seems intentionally ironic.

Unless I'm completely wrong and Mitt completely missed the point of the movie; perhaps he can elucidate?

Posted by: nagatuki | October 1, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Roman Polanski raped a child. Roman Polanski sodomized a child. Roman Polanski gave that child alcohol (illegal) and drugs (illegal) to facilitate his rape and sodomy (illegal, illegal). Roman Polanski confessed to these crimes, pled guilty to a much-reduced charge of unlawful sex with a minor then skipped town when he got cold feet on the potential sentence (also illegal, and on its own, worthy of additional charges and time). While the wishes of the victims are always of interest, it is the interests of Justice, or "we the people" that are of import here. The fact that a famous, wealthy person can drug, rape, sodomize and flee with impunity diminishes public confidence and the integrity of the system as a whole. The "well look at the others who got away with it" argument doesn't fly. Neither does the "it's been 30 years." Justice is justice -- are you telling me that "house arrest" in every chalet in Gstaad and mansion in France is equivalent to time served? Not even close. And let's not forget that it was Polanski's supporters who showed up in droves to block the compassionate release of Susan Atkins, a participant in the Tate murders dying of brain cancer after having become a "born again" model prisoner. Where was all of this "it's been 40 years ago" sentiment then? Where was all the "she's a different person" and is an old sick woman when someone famous and wealthy wasn't involved? I hate hypocrisy and it's showing up in spades, here.
And as for Woody Allen, I'm all with Armao; I haven't watched a Woody Allen film since his perversion with his adopted daughter was revealed (and, no, he didn't sign the papers but lived with her mother as their father). He wasn't, but SHOULD HAVE BEEN prosecuted: the nude photos discovered by Farrow were taken when the girl was 17 and the sexual activity had begun at that age, too. Sex. With. Minors. By. Old. Men. Disgusting. Sorry, but I've never again been able to stomach watching his earlier movies like Manhattan & "Annie Hall." How can you laugh at his sexual comedies knowing his sick perversions? But Allen was not prosecuted, did not plead guilty and didn't run away from his crimes. Unlike Polanski, who deserves to be returned here to California and face sentencing for his original crime AND fleeing the jurisdiciton, Allen deserves whatever judgment you feel appropriate -- go ahead, pay for tickets to his lousy movies if you want. I, and many others like me, just won't be joining you.

Posted by: Omyobama | October 1, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

By the way, a LOT of my relatives are guards at prisons, or have been, including Folsom State, and they have told me the easiest way to get someone really screwed up in jail is to let it slip out that the person is in jail because of something they did to a kid. There is unacceptable even to don't mess with kids.

Posted by: cmub | October 1, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Good news… on this issue 70% of French public don’t support their Polanski-friendly elite and 90% of the respondents to Huffington Post Polanski defenders are appalled.

Posters should review the girls Grand jury testimony... it is chilling or a point by point rebuttal of his defence at:

A 46-year-old Roman Polanski drugged, raped and sodomized a 13 year old girl against her will (she repeatedly told him to stop). He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge (consensual) statutory rape and later fled to safe tolerant Europe where he no doubt suffered for years in exile in southern France.

He even continued his behavior with underage teens (reference: 14-year-old Tatum O’Neal on porn night at Polanski’s; 15-year-old Nastassja Kinski ).

Posted by: pvilso24 | October 1, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse


"...And while Polanski did indeed rape a child, she has since pleaded with the law to leave him alone. Why are her pleas not taken into consideration?"


Because he isn't under arrest for his first crime -- child rape. He pleaded guilty to that long ago. He's under arrest for his second crime -- fleeing to avoid jail.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | October 1, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Washington Post staff, go shoot yourself for even discussing this non-issue. It's not news-- certainly shouldn't be the focus of a fricking national debate. Everyone please go back to worrying about "Cadillac plans."

Posted by: wilburrr | October 1, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

It's easy-Palin since she was the governor of a state with the highest rape & incest rate of all 50 states. She was elected to uphold the laws of her state and improve the quality of life for it's 700,000 + residents and failed miserably. Her impact was deleterious for the residents of the state, Polanski for one teenager. Yes, this liberal thinks Polanski should serve his sentence.

"Ask your liberal friends, who's worse: Roman Polanski or Sarah Palin? Make them be specific as to why."

Posted by: JohnSkookum

Posted by: MerrillFrank | October 1, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I left out as mayor of Wasilla Palin did not oppose changing charging rape victims a fee for their rape kits. Far worse than Polanski.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | October 1, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I can not believe the responses that have been written.

I have three responses:

A 44 year old man who drugs and rapes a 13 year old girl should to be prosecuted. If this man is found guilty and evades his sentencing, he should be prosecuted for both crimes to the fullest extent of the law.

A man who has a relationship with a woman for twelve years and has sex with the woman's daughter has a serious judgement issue. This type of behavior creates significant issues with family members and is an abuse of his relationship with this family.

Both of these situations are simply wrong. Additionally, I'm a liberal and see the grave injustices that have been done by both Mr. Polanski and Mr. Allen in which they de-humanized their victims with their shouts of their enpowerment. I am truely sadden by the comments of people who simply want to forget everything as if nothing has happened.

Posted by: stephen_soukup | October 1, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

It is sad that Mia Farrow is intimately connected with both Woody Allen and Roman Polanski. She made 'Rosemary's Baby' with Polanski and had a 13 year relationship with Allen. Both Polanski and Allen took advantage of their fame to seduce underage girls. Shame shame shame on them.

Posted by: heatherprevin | October 1, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

There is no sense of shame among the cultural elite. In fact, the point of much of their product is to ridicule and eviscerate traditional morality. They've essentially defined decency out of existence, except for political correctness. Since there is no sense of decency left in their milieu, it must shock them that out here in America we draw the line at raping children.

Posted by: emmet1 | October 1, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

It is quite evidant that there are quite a few of you out there that obviously have no a)children b)moral compass c)decency and/or d)compassion. Like another poster pointed out, I bet your take on this case would be drastically different if it was a conservative like a priest or a Republican politician. Liberals rake Govenor Sanford across the coals for an extramarital affair with a consenting adult. Oh and I don't agree with what he did and think he should step down too, but guess accountability isn't high on a liberals priority list. hypocrisy mus b very igh on the list. I guess under your thought proccess, A woman that is beaten by her spouse, calls the police to come out, and then pleads not to have him arrested. We should just let him off the hook so he can beat her again. There is a reason why states now prosecute wheather the woman wants them t or not. They arenot in the right frame of mind, becsue they have become victimized. It is amazng to me that Polanski is considered the victim now. You know what though, he will have to answer for himself one day. When he dies, he will face a judge that he can't hide from and a judgement and sentence that he woun't be able to run from.

Posted by: azbrianhu | October 2, 2009 4:00 AM | Report abuse

I asked the following question at the top of this thread as a sardonic joke, thinking it would get a laugh or two and perhaps provoke some introspection: "Ask your liberal friends, who's worse: Roman Polanski or Sarah Palin? Make them be specific as to why."

Well, what do you know, 6 Obama voters rose to the bait and I ran the table with them.

6 out of 6 Obama voters were unable to admit that a man who drugged a junior high school girl, before raping her in the rectum as she sobbed and begged for him to stop, was in any way worse than Gov. Palin. In fact, 4 out of 6 Obama voters agreed that Palin was worse, and the other two Obama voters just called me names.

OK, Obama voters, that will be all. Return to your drug-fueled anal rape and Obama worship.

To all the rest of us, do you see how Obama got elected? Can we quit wasting everyone's time pretending they are decent rational people, and just get on with the Second Civil War? I don't want to share a flag with these people any more.

Posted by: JohnSkookum | October 2, 2009 5:57 AM | Report abuse

You know everyone expects if we just get Polanski in the US we will be able to lock him up for raping that girl... But remember certain things.. First he pleaded guility as part of a plea deal.. if the deal is revoked so is his guility plea and confession.. So we'll start from scratch. And with no witnesses, no DNA, no confession we can use and 30 year old crime where even the victim doesn't want to see Polanski put in jail.. am I the only one who sees there might be a problem getting a conviction? Not to mention this will take place in LA.. a place they couldn't convict O.J. Michael Jackson or Robert Blake.. Why do I feel we will end up spending millions just to watch Polanski walk free.. with the ability now to live and make movies in the U.S. Sometimes we should be careful what we wish for because we might just get it...

Posted by: sovine08 | October 2, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

JohnSkookum: "To all the rest of us, do you see how Obama got elected? Can we quit wasting everyone's time pretending they are decent rational people, and just get on with the Second Civil War? I don't want to share a flag with these people any more."

You know what? Me neither - "you" people didn't want to be Americans the first time, either - it's rich and ironic that many Repubs think they're patriotic at the same time they wave the Confederate flag, symbol of America's worst war and also symbol of people who wanted NOTHING TO DO with this great nation called the United States or being one of its citizens.

I don't need you to validate my decency because the issue was never either/or. Polanski should go to jail, yes, but it has nothing to do with Palin, who would have worked to destroy America's reputation and values further, including women's rights; in essence, screwing all us women you-know-where.

Posted by: nagatuki | October 2, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

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