Thursday, October 01, 2009

Polanski, the French, and the backlash against the rape apologists

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Even the French are backing away from their initial support for Roman Polanski (and opposition to his arrest). Foreign Minister (and celebrated leftist intellectual) Bernard Kouchner, along with Polish Foreign Minister (and husband of WaPo columnist and Polanski apologist Anne Applebaum), had called for Polanski to be released, but the French government now insists that "[w]e have a judicial procedure under way, for a serious affair, the rape of a minor, on which the American and Swiss legal systems are doing their job."

Good for the French. (For more on the French reaction to Polanski's arrest, see Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.)

Meanwhile, Polanski has support not just in the international cinematic community but in Washington as well. I suspect there will be a concerted campaign to pressure U.S. authorities, from Hillary and Holder on down, to leave Polanski be. In fact, it's already begun. But there's a little thing known as the rule of law to consider, and Obama isn't about to issue a pardon. So unless the Swiss release Polanski on their own, and unless Polanski is allowed to return to France, isn't extradition an inevitability? What legal leg does Polanski have to stand on?

(And then what? As I've written before, I'm not sure Polanski should be imprisoned, belatedly, for his crime. Perhaps there is some other suitable punishment that could be meted out?)

What is refreshing is that there has been a strong backlash against Polanski's apologists, including the appalling Whoopi Goldberg, who claimed the other day that what Polanski did was "rape," not "rape-rape." (Which, as TNR's Chris Orr notes, is true in a legal sense, as Polanski pled down to a lower crime, but certainly not in any real sense, given the facts of the case, let alone in a moral sense.)

By the way, make sure to read the NYT editorial on the case: "[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?"

For more, see my two previous posts on Polanski:

-- The truth about Roman Polanski; and

-- Defending Polanski; or, how the Hollywood left has completely lost its marbles.

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