Taki Taki

High Life | 24 October 2009

Double standards

New York

Something’s bothering me about the Polanski business. No, unlike Harvey Weinstein and Bernard-Henri Lévy — not to mention that Mitterrand paedophile — I will not defend Roman’s actions with a 13-year-old, but I will say that, with friends like his making fools of themselves defending him, it will be a miracle if he gets off with a slap on the wrist. Although this may sound pompous, I doubt if any of his defenders have known Polanski as long as I have — 40 years and counting — but let’s take it from the top.

What Hugo Rifkind wrote about him and his defenders in these pages on 3 October is spot-on. Hollywood has a lot to answer for, and mixing up global warming, Darfur, HIV and Roman’s case is not exactly kosher. I particularly liked what he said about Mel Gibson, who was nearly hounded out of Tinseltown for a drunken anti-Semitic outburst, one for which he has apologised more times than I’ve had hangovers. ‘But Polanski shags an actual child and they love him.’ Ironically, the four people who failed to sign the petition for Roman were Woody Allen, Robert Blake, O.J. Simpson and Phil Spector, the last two being in the pokey as I write.

Yes, there are a lot of jokes about Polanski making the rounds, but in the meantime he is having a very bad time in a Swiss jail. Psychologically, that is. Let’s face it, it does smell a bit of Inspector Javert, 32 years on. I first met Roman when he walked into my bedroom in Gstaad uninvited and insisted on watching me punch and kick a tiny piece of paper hanging from a string. (It was to speed up one’s kicks and punches for an upcoming karate tournament.)

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