Among the more revolting things to witness over the last several days has been the manner in which Hollywood and other segments of the so-called cultural elite have come to speak out in defense of a man who drugged and raped a child. It’s ranged from directors like Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen signing a petition for his release from a Swiss jail to Whoppi Goldberg idiotically claiming that Polanski’s crime was excusable because it wasn’t “rape-rape” and that we should excuse him because Europeans allegedly view child rape differently than we philistine Americans do.
And even Anne Applebaum who was among the first of the pundits to rush to Polanski’s defense is adding on to the outrage, this time by claiming that Polanski’s behavior should be excused because the girl’s mother allegedly condoned it:
[T]here were some very legitimate disagreements, including two excellent ones from my colleagues Gene Robinson and Richard Cohen, and I take some of their points. But to them, and to all who imagine that the original incident at the heart of this story was a straightforward and simple criminal case, I recommend reading the transcript of the victim’s testimony (here in two parts) — including her descriptions of the telephone conversation she had with her mother from Polanski’s house, asking permission to be photographed in Jack Nicholson’s jacuzzi — and not just the salacious bits.
[T]he transcript does not show the girl asking for or receiving her mother’s permission to have her picture taken in a jacuzzi, let alone in the nude.
Even if you could read the transcript the way Applebaum apparently wants us to, though, that hardly justifies anything that Polanski did — bad parenting does not mean that a child is free to be raped by whatever pedophile might come down the street.
Even The New York Times Editorial Board recognizes that there’s something grievously wrong with people who rush to the defense of someone like Polanski:
[W]here is the injustice in bringing to justice someone who pleads guilty to statutory rape and then goes on the lam, no matter how talented he may be?
In Europe, the prevailing mood — at least among those with access to the news media — seemed to be that Mr. Polanski has already “atoned for the sins of his young years,” as Jacek Bromski, the chief of the Polish Filmmakers Association, put it.
We disagree strongly, and we were glad to see other prominent Europeans beginning to point out that this case has nothing to do with Mr. Polanski’s work or his age. It is about an adult preying on a child. Mr. Polanski pleaded guilty to that crime and must account for it.