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I wrote the following piece in October 2009, shortly after Roman Polański’s arrest at Zürich Airport, and submitted it to the online comments pages of a number of Canadian, UK and US newspapers. Only a few published it, and several of them subsequently removed it while allowing anti-Polański diatribes to remain. I have made it available here to provide a counterbalance to the uninformed accounts to be found across the internet. It appears exactly as I wrote it.

 

Eric Bond Hutton

 

 

 

Are any of you interested in Polanski’s side of the story? Or do you all prefer to get on your moral high horses and bay for the man’s blood while ignoring the possibility that he may be guilty of nothing more than having consensual sex once with a 13-year-old girl who by her own admission was already sexually experienced but by Californian law was underage? In his autobiography, “Roman by Polanski”, he describes what happened:

 

“Then, very gently, I began to kiss and caress her. After this had gone on for some time, I led her over to the couch.

 

“There was no doubt about Sandra’s [a pseudonym] experience and lack of inhibition. She spread herself and I entered her. She wasn’t unresponsive. Yet, when I asked her softly if she was liking it, she resorted to her favorite expression: ‘It’s all right.’

 

“While we were still making love, I heard a car in the driveway. It seemed to pass the house, so we carried on.

 

“Suddenly, though, Sandra froze. The light on the phone had come on, which meant there was someone else in the house, making a call from another room. That stopped us both in our tracks, but it didn’t suppress my desire for the girl. After whispering reassurances, Sandra gradually relaxed again. When it was all over, I opened the door a little and looked down the passage.”

 

That’s it. There is nothing, I might add, about drugging the girl beforehand, though he does mention that they had both had some champagne. He goes on to say he was “shocked and bewildered” the following day when he was arrested on a charge of rape. Having admired his work for more than 30 years and having also read a good deal about him, I feel I know something about his character, his tastes and inclinations, though I have never had the privilege of meeting him. I do not believe he would do what he was accused of. Nor do people who know him. And it is undeniably significant that in the whole of his 76 years no other woman, young or old, has ever accused him of molestation. What really clinches it for me, however, is that a medical examination of the girl, the findings of which can be read online, discovered no blood on her clothes or body, no anal lacerations and no sphincter tear – nothing, in short, of the kind one would expect if her story of being drugged, raped and sodomised while putting up “some” resistance and saying “no” repeatedly had a grain of truth in it.

 

Women sometimes make false allegations of rape out of malice or greed. I have personal experience of this. I once fell hook, line and sinker for a girlfriend’s story of being in rent arrears, and – fool that I was – wrote her out cheque after cheque. The more I gave her, however, the more she asked for. And each time she asked, she assured me it would be “the very last time”. After I had given her a total of £20,000, alarm bells began to ring in my head, and I refused to give her another penny. She then claimed I had brutally assaulted her on our last date. She had, she said, bruises and scratches all over her body and was thinking of reporting me to the police. For all I knew, she did have the injuries she spoke of – self-inflicted. I met her a few more times after that. What she didn’t know was that I was now recording our conversations, and one day, while we were walking together along a busy street in North London, I managed to elicit from her a clear, unequivocal retraction of her allegation. So far as I know she never did go to the police, and five years on I still have that recording. If Polanski had a recording like that of his alleged victim, he might not be in prison now and might never have been sued by her for $500,000.

 

I do not believe I have ever before been so disgusted with journalists as over the way they have maligned Polanski these past few days. Almost to a man they have proved themselves true to type: the spiteful hack who cannot get his facts right and cares nothing for truth or justice or fair play. For example, though he was originally indicted on six counts – furnishing a controlled substance to a minor; committing a lewd or lascivious act; having unlawful sexual intercourse; perversion; sodomy; rape by use of drugs – the DA subsequently withdrew five of these charges, leaving only that of unlawful sexual intercourse. It was to this alone that Polanski pleaded guilty, though one would never know it from most of the recent stories about him.

 

Furthermore, since the girl was three weeks short of 14 at the time of the incident, Polanski is no more a “child molester” (as some people insist on dubbing him) than Edgar Allan Poe, Mayne Reid, Paul Gauguin, Charlie Chaplin or Oliver Reed, each of whom as a grown man either cohabited with or married a girl in her early or mid teens. Old goat might be a more fitting epithet. There is a world of difference. Besides, some 13-year-old girls are enough to make an old goat – or a Polanski – of any man. And if Californian law supposes, as it does, that a girl under 18 is incapable of giving her consent, it is in the immortal words of Mr Bumble “a ass – a idiot”.

 

Most sickening of all is how some people give every impression of wanting to be his executioner. On internet forums one semiliterate moron after another writes with undisguised glee of the prospect of his spending the rest of his life in prison and there being beaten up and sodomised every day and perhaps, with a bit of luck, murdered. Some even demand that he be castrated. It is all disturbingly reminiscent of the witch-hunts of centuries ago, the tricoteuses who sat round the guillotine, the persecution of Oscar Wilde, the Nazi thugs who rounded up the Jews and sent them on a one-way journey to the gas chambers. It is a sad intimation that man is still the vicious, apelike creature he has always been, that civilisation is only a veneer and that the lynch mob may one day come down the street to get you for being different from the herd.

 

 

 

Polański’s account of the incident, quoted above, can be found on page 393 of his autobiography. The pseudonym Sandra was used to protect Samantha Geimer’s then (1984) still undisclosed identity. The findings of the medical examination can be read on pages 80–81 of the following document:

 

www.talkleft.com/legal/polanskimotion.pdf