[Caution: contains explicit reference to sexual acts which may disturb some readers]
The Hollywood left and their fellow travelers are, of course, appalled that director Roman Polanski has been arrested for his unpunished 1977 rape of a 13-year old. This should not surprise.
At the Academy Award show in March 2003, after an unendurable three hours of peace vamping-Hollywood would willingly go to war only if the enemy were the paparazzi--the gathered worthies surged to their feet to applaud Polanski, the surprise winner of the best director award for the Holocaust drama, The Pianist.
Polanski, however, couldn't quite make it to the Kodak Theater that evening. It seems that 25 years earlier the widowed husband of the late Sharon Tate had driven his Mercedes to LAX and left it in long term parking, very long term. He has not been back since. His new home, France, the country that gave us the term droit de seigneur, has proved more understanding.
Indeed, upon his arrest, one French minister was reported to have said, "This morning, There is a scary America that has just shown its face."
Days before the 2003 Oscars, Patrick Goldstein of The Los Angeles Times, the paper that had led the charge against child abuse (real or imagined) by priests and pre-school teachers, posed the question of whether "an artist's accomplishments should be judged against his misdeeds." Goldstein used the word "misdeed" more than once to describe the act that had caused Polanski to flee.
In the same article actor Warren Beatty called the same act a "personal mistake." Goldstein concludes that "we" always "forgive [artists] their transgressions" because, in the end, good art trumps bad behavior. And after all, as Washington wags might have put it, "This was just about sex."
Shortly before the Oscars someone had posted the grand jury testimony of the victim of that misdeed, Samantha Geimer, on the Internet. Hollywood gossips were upset--not with Polanski, but with the "smear" against him. The testimony, however, is worth revisiting, and it rings entirely true. Polanski tells much the same story in his autobiography, Roman, though he remains shocked that "I should be sent to prison, my life and career ruined, for making love." The description that follows is not for children.
The quintessential Valley girl, Geimer artlessly tells of how Polanski approached her and her divorced mom about taking photos of Samantha for a fashion magazine. Impressed and reassured by his celebrity, the mom agreed. After a couple of outdoor shoots, Polanski and the girl ended up alone at Jack Nicholson's house. Says Polanski, "I could sense a certain erotic tension between the two of us." At the time, Polanski was a worldly 43. Geimer was a 13 year-old seventh grader.
At Nicholson's otherwise empty house, Polanski plied Geimer with champagne and had her take her blouse off for a shot in the Jacuzzi. He then gave her a Quaalude. "Why did you take it?" asked the prosecutor. "I think I must have been pretty drunk or else I wouldn't have," Geimer answered. Now "kind of dizzy," Geimer still managed to resist Polanski's increasing demands. "I want to go home," she told him repeatedly. He would have none of it. Finally, he cornered her on a couch, put his head in her lap, and started performing "cuddliness" on her, her word.
"I was going, ‘No come on, stop it,' but I was afraid," Geimer continued. Polanski then "placed his penis in [her] vagina," but upon learning that she was not on the pill, the gentlemanly artist lifted her legs up further, "went through the anus," and climaxed therein.
A "misdeed" to be sure.
Jack Cashill researched this story for his 2007 book, What's The Matter With California.