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Tony Grist

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Plate Sin With Gold..... [May. 20th, 2010|12:17 pm]
Tony Grist
One of the weirdest things about the whole Polanski affair is how this guy who'd been convicted of drugging and raping a thirteen year old girl (then ran away) got welcomed by the European glitterati like a returning prodigal. You'd think his crime would have made him untouchable, but it didn't- and for thirty years his career flourished-  in all which time- so far as I'm aware- no-one famous ever said, "Ugh, I don't want to be in the same room as that creep". When he finally got overconfident and put himself in a position where the police could swoop, a huge number of his dear friends rallied round and protested his arrest- and Whoopi Goldberg- of all people- said on a talk show that it wasn't as if his crime was "rape-rape"- by which I suppose she meant he didn't use a knife. Now Robert Harris, author of the book on which Polanski based his most recent movie, has written an article rubbishing Charlotte Lewis- who recently came forward to say that Polanski assaulted her too.

Where were Harris and Goldberg and all those other dwellers above the clouds when Gary Glitter and Chris Langham came a cropper? 

Clearly culpability in matters relating to the sexual abuse of children depends on how cool you are. If you're only slightly well known- like Langham- or actually a bit naff-  like Glitter- you're paedo-scum. If you're wonderfully famous and powerful-  like Polanski, Bill Wyman, Michael Jackson or Pete Townsend- you're an artist with a troubled soul.  I was going to say that at least the entertainment industry- unlike the Catholic Church- doesn't preach at us while sheltering kiddy-fiddlers,  but then I thought about it some more and realised that, of course, in it's own way, it does. 

[User Picture]From: steepholm
2010-05-20 11:50 am (UTC)
When the Polanski case flared up again I was immediately struck by the contrast with William Mayne. A lot of the excuses peddled by Polanski's supporters - it wasn't rape-rape, it was a long time ago, mores were different then, his talent gives him special privileges - also applied to Mayne. Yet there was no fuss when Mayne (rightly, imo) went to jail. Thereafter he was never published again, and all his backlist (sadly, imo) was allowed to go out of print, even as Polanski was assembling his young cast for Oliver Twist. The contrast certainly shows up Hollywood and European hypocrisy - but actually, I think most people find that fairly apparent anyway.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-20 01:22 pm (UTC)

I haven't read Mayne, but the obituary makes him sound like a very interesting writer.

I have similar feelings about Chris Langham- a very fine comedy actor who has now disappeared- along with all his work. His crime- downloading child pornography- strikes me as considerably less heinous than what Polanski did.
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[User Picture]From: silverhawkdruid
2010-05-21 08:08 am (UTC)
I'm afraid I disagree with you here. To my mind, downloading child porn is accessory to rape at the very least. If there wasn't a market for child porn, kids wouldn't be put through hell to produce it. To me, you are complicit in the crime by viewing it, even if you didn't take the pictures yourself.
But the gist of your post I totally agree with. I loathe that people can get away with crimes like this just because of who they are, and Whoopi Goldberg should be ashamed of herself. It is her in particular I feel betrayed by, because I am such a huge fan of hers that it hurts to have her dismiss Polanski's behaviour in this way.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-21 09:08 am (UTC)
An awful lot of people I admire have worked with Polanski over the past 30 years- and have rallied round him since his arrest. Whoopi stands out because what she said was so singularly crass- but she's one in a crowd.

Chris Langham said he was researching paedophilia. Pete Townsend fielded exactly the same defence- and got away with it.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2010-05-20 04:14 pm (UTC)
"European hypocrisy"? Gee, thanks.
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[User Picture]From: steepholm
2010-05-20 05:00 pm (UTC)
I was referring to the hypocrisy shown by some Europeans (specifically the ones referred to by poliphilo, in the context of whose post I was commenting) and the hypocrisy shown by some people in Hollywood. I did not think that I would be understood to mean all Europeans (including myself, presumably) or all inhabitants of the Hollywood area, but if that wasn't clear I'm happy to clarify.
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