Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Kate S on 11/18/2009

(No) Prison for Polanski?

Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski

I have never seen the Pianist or Chinatown, but I know that Roman Polanski is a lauded director of ingenuity. But I also know him as a dispicable rapist.

He is currently behind bars in Zurich, the decision of whether or not to allow him to go free on bail still hanging in the air for the next 2-3 weeks. What angers me even more, however, is not just his violation, but also Hollywood’s reaction. Many big-name celebrities such as Robert De Niro are avidly speaking out in support of him; in their eyes, his artistic talents apparently transcends his pedophile nature. By the time Natalie Portman announced her support, I had to accept that world has come to an end.

Why is no one speaking out against Polanski? Are Hollywood celebrities really that dumb as to remain silent to an obvious act of harrassment? Why are self-proclaimed feminists such as Meryl Streep, Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet and Ellen Page keeping quiet? I don’t know if their silence comes from the fear of insulting one of the most lauded directors in the history of Hollywood or ignorance. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Raping a thirteen-year-old girl is wrong -it has been, it is, and it will always be wrong. Artistic talent, social status, or economic power have no power to justify what is clearly a violation of a woman’s right to self.

No one is boycotting Polansky’s films or questioning his genius (if some are, it’s on individual basis) -only Justice is doing its duty to preserve rights of the victim. When Polanski walks out of the prison, we are putting ourselves in prison of injustice: we are telling young boys and girls that rape is acceptable -that rapists can roam about streets and that justice will never serve them right. That is certainly not the world I believed it to be, not the world I want to be a part of, and definitely not the world I want my future children to live in.

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  • Toongrrl @ at 11:41 am, November 18th, 2009

    I wonder what would happen if it was John Waters (I love “Hairspray”!) committed this crime against humanity

  • Justice 30 years later? « Self Rescuing Princess @ at 3:11 pm, November 18th, 2009

    [...] Check out  The FBomb [...]

  • Arran @ at 3:27 pm, November 18th, 2009

    The first person I saw actually telling it like it was, was Chris Rock in an interview around the time the story was breaking.

    http://jezebel.com/5372888/chris-rock-on-roman-polanski-its-rape-rape

  • Maren @ at 8:24 pm, November 18th, 2009

    We talked about this in English the other day, because he directed a version of Macbeth, everyone seemed sort of supportive of him.
    I think its’ terrible that people are treating Polanski as a victim here. Rape is Rape. This is a very high-profile example of rape culture in our society.

  • Steph @ at 8:36 pm, November 18th, 2009

    Leave him in there to rot.
    Possibly forever, for all I care.

  • Toongrrl @ at 11:26 am, November 19th, 2009

    do you girls and guys know that a member of the Feminist Majority has supported Polanski??? Kate S if you think that it was the end of the world when Natalie Portman announced her support, now that Peg Yorkin supports him, we are all Fucked!!!!

  • KS @ at 9:06 pm, November 19th, 2009

    Toongrrl, that may just be the apocalypse for me. I know Emma Thompson signed it because she’s a good friend of Polansky and after lots of verbal flogging from her fans, she removed her signature recently. Regardless, it’s really sad considering that she is considered to be one of few overtlyl feminist actress of our time.

  • sammy @ at 9:47 pm, November 19th, 2009

    http://www.feministing.com/archives/014233.html
    Emma Thompson removed her name from that petition…

    There are voices speaking out against him – perhaps more than those supporting him! But who is gonna be making headlines? Who is more sensational to put in the news? We’re hearing about that petition because those people are famous, but there’s probably lots of other famous people that are taking a stand, but can’t get the airtime for it. Or something. That’s what I like to hope.

  • Gan-Chan @ at 7:39 pm, November 20th, 2009

    Read the opinion of honorably Kirstie Alley:

    http://twitter.com/kirstiealley/status/4498421378

  • Eli @ at 9:58 pm, November 22nd, 2009

    I wrote an essay on this:

    http://www.minervana.com/roman-polanski.html

    An updated version is here:

    http://community.feministing.com/2009/11/roman-polanski-and-the-benefit.html#more

  • Tinnie @ at 12:26 am, November 23rd, 2009

    Sad that Chris Rock, out of all of them, has directly commented AGAINST polanski. Maybe theres some weird conspiracy that the public doesnt know about polanski….like he’s gonna unleash an audio wave that will activate some kind of subliminal message that he programmed in the Pianist so everyone who saw that movie will be controlled by him and Warner Brothers? Just kidding, but as far as I am concerned, the only legitimate feminist actress you named was Ellen Page who has consistently and uninhibitedly explained her feminist ideology and support, (in major magazines as well). The other ones sort of were like “yah, its totally edgy to be a feminist so yah im totally for it GIRL POWER” weak statements? (Anyone got a link to show me some solid statements from these women?)

  • KS @ at 9:23 pm, November 23rd, 2009

    Tinnie: I named those actresses for their–though not always–active roles. For example, Kate Winslet is known for her feminist roles and her body image (Melissa Silverstein discusses Winslet in Revolutionary Road here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melissa-silverstein/feminism-revolutionary-ro_b_153604.html). Meryle Streep is not only an amazing actresses but also a huge women’s rights advocate by being the voice of Hollywood actresses. She discusses dominance of men in this article: http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article6829427.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=1063710. Keira Knightley is a huge supporter of Women’s Aid and she recently filmed a short video with Joe Wright to raise awareness about domestic violence.

    Now, we can’t disregard the fact that these women are constantly under pressure to lose weight and behave a certain way. But then again, actors and actresses alike are expected to morph into specific body images depending on their roles –it’s all part of their job. It’s a matter of discrimination in these expectations between male and female actors. And like you mentioned, it is unfortunate that these women and other actresses are hesitant about fully practicing their feminist beliefs in Hollywood.

  • K8 AH @ at 11:41 am, November 24th, 2009

    Thank you for bringing this to the attention of teen feminists Kate S! Polanski is truly revolting and those supporting him and his quest to evade the law confound me to no end. The fact that punishing him is even a question is reviling! Obviously we still need FEMINISM; otherwise apparently there is a huge portion of Hollywood elite that think that drugging and sodomizing 13 year olds is perfectly acceptable as long as you are a great artist!

  • Alonso Vanaria @ at 1:48 am, March 22nd, 2010

    She’s big and brash, even a bit goofy sometimes, but I like her openness and straight talk. Sure shes’s trying to make a come back with her show The Big Life? And sure, she may be plugging her diet loss program, but then which show doesn’t plug something or try to make money. So what do you think of her new show? Have you seen it?

  • Samuel W. @ at 11:42 am, October 2nd, 2010

    He ran from prison for thirty-three years. If he’d served his term back in, oh, NINETEEN SEVENTY-SEVEN when the crime actually happened, this would not have been a problem (assuming he wouldn’t rape another child). Idiot Polanski. The victim has said that she wants him to walk free to prevent her from remembering this three-decade-old case any further, but if he just serves his prison term like he should, that could be the case, and justice would be done for his wrongdoing.

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