As many of you know, Roman Polanski, the legendary director whose masterpieces include "Rosemary’s Baby" and "Chinatown," was arrested a couple of weeks ago in Zurich, Switzerland for a 32-year-old statutory rape charge. Polanski was accused of drugging a 13-year-old girl and having sex with her at Jack Nicholson’s house. Before he could be sentenced by a court of law, he fled the United States for Europe in 1978.
Whenever a celebrity gets into major trouble like this, it’s always interesting to look at how people react. Unsurprisingly, the masses are torn right down the middle on this issue. There are those who think that the 77-year-old Polanski should be extradited back to America and spend the rest of his life in jail, and there are those who think he should be released because the crime is so old and that he’s suffered enough. Several of Polanski’s fellow filmmakers, including Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese, have signed a petition to free Polanski.
Personally, I’m torn on this issue. Polanski’s life has been filled with bad luck and misery. His mother was killed by the Nazis. Sharon Tate, who was his wife at the time and eight months pregnant, was murdered by the Manson family in 1969. In 1971, he directed an adaptation of Macbeth, which is one of the 20 worst movies ever made. He had a cameo in "Rush Hour 3." I’m not excusing his crime, I’m just making an observation. It was 32 years ago and the victim said publicly that she doesn’t want Polanski to go to jail. Also, the main reason Polanski fled in the first place is because he got screwed over by the judge presiding over his case, who was a media hound and wanted to make an example of Polanski to make himself famous.
At the same time, I remember the fact that he, you know, slept with a 13-year-old girl. Polanski has had a long history of sleeping with anything that breathes and what he did at Jack Nicholson’s house was heinous. Polanski spending 30 years in France is nothing compared to being scarred for life by a sexual act. I can perfectly understand why Polanski should be extradited back here to face justice.
Now, I consider myself a pretty solutions-oriented person and I know how Mr. Polanski can avoid this mess and make sure his cinematic legacy stays intact. He needs to die. I’m dead serious. In this country, if you’re famous and you’ve given something to the world that has brought joy to a large amount of people, you will be forgiven instantly for any bad things you’ve done if you die.
Don’t believe me? Look at Michael Jackson. He dies, and everybody forgives him for his alleged crimes and erratic behavior during the last 20 years of his life. Look at Ted Kennedy. He dies and everybody remembers him as a champion for health care, and nobody mentions the Chappaquiddick incident from 40 years ago. Walt Disney was an extreme anti-Semite, but he created Mickey Mouse, so everybody sweeps it under the rug.
I call it the "Yeah, But Theory." When you bring up a negative aspect of a deceased celebrity, someone will instantly try to counter it with a positive. Like when one person says Michael Jackson was a child molester, someone else will say, "Yeah, but he made ‘Billie Jean’." Woody Allen is a pervert for dating his adopted daughter. Yeah, but he made "Annie Hall"(okay he’s not dead yet, but people will say this, trust me). It happens every time.
In America, our culture always wants to focus on the positive aspects of celebrities, and only a few are hated outright no matter what they do. I mean, O.J. Simpson could end world hunger and cure cancer and nothing will change with him. Well, unless he finds the real killers. They’re still out there, I know they are.
Nothing wipes your slate clean if you’re a famous celebrity like death. So Roman, if you want to save your good name, just end your life. Just get in your car and "accidentally" swerve off a cliff. It’s that easy (also, make Adrien Brody give the Oscar he won for your movie "The Pianist" to Daniel Day-Lewis from "Gangs of New York" He was robbed and you know it). Turner Classic Movies will have a marathon of your movies the next day. That’s just how we operate here in America, where fame can forgive almost anything.