Sunday, October 4, 2009
I once heard former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, a self-described "liberal with sanity," say that "the Hollywood elite would applaud Hitler if he showed up at the Oscars wearing a red AIDS ribbon." At the time, even I--someone who, to say the least, is not much in sympathy with the "beautiful people"--thought that comment was a bit harsh. I'm beginning to wonder, though. I've been flabbergasted and appalled by expressions of support for Roman Polanski coming from the Hollywood elite. Polanski drugged and raped a child. There are worse crimes, but not many. So what does Whoopi Goldberg say? "It wasn't rape rape." Well, as a matter of fact, it was rape rape. To be sickeningly specific, it was rape, rape, rape. He raped his thirteen year old victim in just about every possible way. Goldberg is far from alone in supporting Polanski and opposing his extradition to face punishment that is, to say the least, long overdue. Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese, Harvey Weinstein, and dozens of others have joined the chorus. Yes, the crime was committed a long time ago. Yes, Polanski was himself a victim of horrible things (under the Nazis and later at the hands of the Manson family). Yes (I suppose) he is an "acclaimed artist." Yes, the victim, now a grown woman, says that she has forgiven him. Goldberg, Allen, Scorcese, and the rest make all these points. But they are irrelevant. Polanski drugged and raped a child. If we as a society are ever to begin seriously facing up to the scandal of the sexualization of children, it is critical that acts such as those committed by Polanski be punished. There must truly be a policy of zero tolerance--even for "acclaimed artists" who are members in good standing of the Hollywood elite.