Roman Polanski, 87, the man who fled the United States after pleading guilty to drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977, is the latest “star” in the ongoing saga of an industry steeped in rape culture and misogyny. Last week, five additional women came forward with harrowing tales of violation and humiliation at the hands of Polanski when they were children.
Polanski is a demigod for the Hollywood upper crust to celebrate and honor while gushing platitudes of genius for his movie making capabilities. His talents are remarkable; world renowned for cinema greats such as Rosemary’s Baby, The Pianist, and Chinatown, and for a dark side of pedophilia and violence that continues to be protected by the entertainment industry.
Knock, Knock. Who’s There?
Unless one follows directors and producers in Tinsel Town, studies serial killers, or has passed a certain milestone in life, say the 50th birthday; you may ask, “Polanski, who?” He was Weinstein before Weinstein is the short answer.
But his story is not the American Dream, and whether his demented proclivities for pedophilia arose from his nature or nurture is a conversation for the F.B.I. profiling unit to tackle (when they are finished profiling President Trump). Both parents in concentration camps, the seemingly orphaned young child was alone in the middle of war-torn Europe during the Second World War:
“…at only 7,[Polanski] managed to escape the ghetto and survive the war, at first wandering through the Polish countryside and pretending to be a Roman-Catholic kid visiting his relatives. Although this saved his life, he was severely mistreated suffering nearly fatal beating which left him with a fractured skull. Local people usually ignored the cinemas where German films were shown, but Polanski seemed little concerned by the propaganda and often went to the movies.
As the war progressed, Poland became increasingly war-torn, and he lived his life as a tramp, hiding in barns and forests, eating whatever he could steal or find. Still under 12 years old, he encountered some Nazi soldiers who forced him to hold targets while they shot at them.”
There are two strikes against nurture right there. And maybe, just maybe, as a newlywed in 1969 to the gorgeous actress, Sharon Tate, the third strike fell. While Polanski was in London, Tate, eight and a half months pregnant, was stabbed 16 times and murdered by the Charles Mason “family.”
The Larger Question
Polanski had a miserable childhood. And, according to him, lost the love of his life with the murder of his wife. One wonders why Vanity Fair published a story in 2002 claiming Polanski stopped by Elaine’s restaurant in New York City and seduced a woman before attending Tate’s funeral.
But the question of whether his early life created the monster is entirely irrelevant. His childhood was unspeakable, and the Manson murder spree would rock anyone’s psyche, that’s a given. The question is why did everyone who knew him as an adult allow this behavior to run rampant by keeping their silence? In his own words, he has admitted, “Normal love isn’t interesting. I assure you that it’s incredibly boring.”
Umm, define normal. Better yet, don’t.
Polanski is a pedophile and a sexual predator in all sense of the labels. But his friends, best friends, Jack Nicolson and Harrison Ford, and the industry as a whole are complicit in the crimes against the now six grown women, reported by the Daily Mail, who have come forward:
Jane Doe #4 – 1976, aged 15 in Gstaad
“The unidentified woman said she was 15 when she was at a dinner party with Polanski, Jack Nicholson, his girlfriend Angelica Huston, and her parents who worked in the film industry.
She told the website imetpolanski.com: ‘I sat on my left side, put his hand on my leg.
‘He then proceeded to touch my genitals and tried to squeeze and rub it with his hand, all that under the table in front of my father’s face,’ she said.”
Hollywood so desires to work with Polanski, several producers have offered for him to direct their films in Europe, where he has holed up rather than complete his sentence for rape and sodomy of a minor:
“Noted producer Robert Evans initially wanted Polanski to direct Sliver (1993). But since Polanski could not return to the U.S., Evans planned on having a second unit director shoot some footage in New York, while Polanski would direct the rest of the film in Paris.”
There is a plethora of blame to go around. But does the behavior, the mindset of allowing this culture to exist for ‘artists,’ ever veer out of the debauchery ditch and back on the straight and narrow road? Doubtful. It is hard to undo a century of complacency armed with a social media campaign. But bravo for effort, celebs. Maybe 10,000 followers will help you sleep at night.
It has become quite fashionable for victims of sexual harassment, egregious sexual misconduct, and rape to speak out against their aggressors. The landslide of accusers telling tales of woe in the aftermath of the fall of Hollywood giant Harvey Weinstein is both sickening and glorious. The list of potential perverts continues to expand, and in this age of instant social media coverage, grim stories about the Hollywood stars move faster than a small-town grapevine; and maybe as woefully accurate. Stay tuned, America; the jury is out while the courtroom attempts to scour away the stench.