Polanski’s Freedom Sets a Horrible Example

Europeans and Americans may have different views of sex, but raping a minor is not to be treated lightly

I am European-born and so were my parents. I realize the Europeans view sex and affairs of the heart differently than us prudish Americans.

This difference came to light recently when I came out of the movie theater after seeing the passionate French movie about a married man’s affair, “Mademoiselle Chambon.” My American friends strongly disagreed with my European take on the movie after I commented that the husband would be seeking his child’s schoolteacher for another round of their affair after his wife delivered their second child.

Roman PolanskiHowever, when it comes to having sex with a minor, my native origins are thrown out the window and I stand with my adopted country’s rightly prudish standards of pursuing justice when it comes to having sex with minors. I applaud the Los Angeles’ court determination to pursue the case of Roman Polanski.

My fellow European directors, and even some of my American male director colleagues, might feel that justice has been served and Polanski should be left alone after 30 years. I believe most of us female directors hold a different view.

Tonight I am thinking about those young actresses who still flock to Hollywood to break into movies. What kind of message are the Swiss teaching them about how it's OK to rape a 13-year-old after drugging her because you are a powerful male director and have a thing for young girls? What recourse do these young girls have next time it happens in Los Angeles if a high-profile male director can get away with this crime? And remember, Polanski never even paid his victim the money owed from the civil lawsuit against him.

Sure, he is a brilliant director and his latest movie, “The Ghost Writer,” was excellent. Yet my cynical self cannot help but think this scandal aided the film’s ticket grosses and now will boost the DVD sales.

Certainly Polanski’s history of survival is moving. As a child of a Holocaust survivor myself, I can appreciate the horrors of his background. But that survivor narrative does not allow one to create a new victim.

Come to think of it, this is not the first time the Swiss have turned deaf ears to matters of justice stemming from the past. Was it not the Swiss banks that had amensia when it came to delivering the savings of murdered Holocaust survivors? And was it not the Swiss courts that protected that injustice for years?