Roman Polanski's lawyers filed a motion Tuesday to free the director from Swiss custody and stop his extradition to the United States, where he pled guilty statutory rape but fled before his sentencing. His arrest has divided the blogosphere and sparked outrage across Europe. But these three well-known columnists are not conflicted. Some react with anger, others a tinge of chivalry, but on the question of whether Polanski deserves punishment, they're united. Here's what they have in mind:
- 'Sure, Let Him Go Free. But First Let Me Have At Him,' Richard Cohen writes at The Washington Post. "It's alright with me if Roman Polanski is freed by the Swiss authorities who have detained him at the request of the United States -- if first I get a chance to bust him one in the mouth." Polanski, he says, is "a squalid excuse for a man." Cohen says prison time would probably, "no longer serve a purpose," since both Polanski and his victim want clemency. Still, he writes, "let me at him" before you let him go.
- Polanski Doesn't Deserve a Happy Ending, Eugene Robinson writes at The Washington Post. Polanski, he says, "absconded like a weasel to live a princely life in France."
And Robinson says his "apologists" make him sick.
It's irrelevant what the victim thinks and feels as a grown woman. What's important is what she thought and felt at age 13, when the crime was committed. Those who argue that there's something unjust about Polanski's arrest are essentially accepting his argument that it's possible for a 13-year-old girl, under the influence of alcohol and drugs, to "consent" to sex with a man in his 40s. Or maybe his defenders are saying that drugging and raping a child is simply not such a big deal.
- Throw Away the Key, John Nolte writes at Big Hollywood. He's disgusted by the film industry's support for Polanski. "If his unspeakable deed doesn't meet the standard, what exactly would
Roman Polanski have to do in order to become a pariah in this town...I mean, besides vote for Sarah Palin?" He says there should be no leniency for the director's crime. "Maybe I'm just a simplistic right-winger but everything stops for me
upon learning a child was raped."