Bigot of the Week Award: May 31, Roman Polanski

31 May
Bigot of the Week

Bigot of the Week

I need to send out a huge thank you to my friend and LGBT ally, Jennifer Carey for her nomination of this weeks’ bigot! Outspoken director Roman Polanski managed to add to the wrong side of his legacy with some very misogynistic comments this week. Speaking to the press at the Cannes Film Festival, Polanski offered bizarre non sequiturs, medial nonsense, and vicious sexism–I suspect we need to up his Haldol dose significantly!

I think it’s a pity that now offering flowers to a lady becomes indecent. […] trying to level the genders is purely idiotic. I think it’s a result of, like everything else and I will be Marxist here, of progress in medicine and these are outcomes of it. I think that the Pill has changed greatly the woman of our times, masculinized her … that chases away the romance from our lives and that’s a great pity.

I’m not sure where to even start with this. The most innocuous bits are the strange idea that offering flowers is anti-feminist (perhaps he needs to work on his delivery…) and the nonsensical claim that anything he said is vaguely Marxist. (Remember, Marx was a  defender of women’s rights!)

Far more troubling is his absolute dismissal of any attempt at gender equity. Does he not understand oppression? This isn’t about all people being identical, it is simply about social justice — ensuring that all people have equal opportunity and access. Apparently he’s getting his science from the modern GOP, too, claiming that birth control masculinizes women and destroys romance. That manages to be a mix of medical lies and outright lunacy. One would think that a man who built his career on movies exploring sexual freedom — including the S&M picture that got him to Cannes — would be a bit more celebratory of science that makes sex more free from consequence.

Polanski may have directed a couple of classics and suffered some significant personal tragedies. One would think that being a Holocaust survivor and having his wife brutally murdered would have endowed him with a greater sense of empathy and the human condition. Alas, it has not. He also skipped town the day before his sentencing on unlawful sex with a minor after raping a 13-year-old. He’s been a fugitive from justice for nearly 40 years. It seems he’s also a fugitive from common sense and basic decency.

14 Responses to “Bigot of the Week Award: May 31, Roman Polanski”

  1. Jennifer Carey May 31, 2013 at 8:09 am #

    Roman and his defenders have always disgusted me. At least this time, the press doesn’t seem to be defending him. All this does is highlight the man’s misogyn and advocacy for violence against women and girls.
    My friends (even the most liberal) think that I’m crazy for boycotting all of his films. That man will never get a cent of my money if I have a choice in the matter.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 31, 2013 at 8:25 am #

      I’m right there with you, Jennifer. I really do try to separate artists from their work, but I don’t seem to be able to do that with Polanski or Woody Allen.

  2. dykewriter May 31, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    I don’t think he raped her. it was a casting couch situation

    but that quote. wow


    sympathy just evaporates

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 31, 2013 at 10:01 am #

      Nina, I appreciate your generosity of heart, but at 13 the power differential is such that it really is rape.

      • dykewriter May 31, 2013 at 11:57 am #

        You are not factoring in her stage mother. which he would have kknown to take advantage of

        but yeah. don’t really feel like defending him.

        I actually read his book when I was a teenager

        and really, I didn’t really have the experience to parse and assess what he wrote then. and not really any interest

        in his book, he also admitted to a second 13 year old

        Natasha Kinski. To get the role Tess of the Durbervilles. ironically enough.

        yes. sexual power dynamics

        it’s all part of the zero sum /dom sub

        bully culture…

    • Jennifer Carey June 1, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      I’m sorry, but he gave a 13 year old child alcohol and drugs. She specifically told him no that she did not want to have sex and she was physically incapacitated. He had sex with her anyway. By any definition, that is rape. The girl was a child. Roman was a grown man who overpowered her physically, chemically, and psychologically.
      I don’t care if her mother “sold” her, there are plenty of mothers that serve as pimps to their children in the sex trade industry. It doesn’t make it not rape. By saying that her mother handed over her child and thus it isn’t rape is stating that children are the property of their parents.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

        Jennifer, you are quite eloquent and passionate here. I do agree with you. I have also been thinking that while I do struggle with my, often times, inability to separate the artist from their art, as a social worker, I would feel compelled to dissuade people from giving any money to that art that would then fill the coffers of the artist.

  3. Central Oregon Coast NOW May 31, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    Reblogged this on Central Oregon Coast NOW.

  4. Jay May 31, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    I see an enormous empathy for women in Polanski’s greatest films (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, Repulsion), so I’m among those who view him as a deeply flawed man who is nevertheless a great artist.

    Obviously, others are free to draw a different conclusion. I’m a bit of a radical on the subject of “do we judge the art, or the artist?”, so please don’t construe my defense of Polanski’s art as a defense of his character, actions, or words.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 31, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

      Jay, I think you articulate how complex these issues are. Honestly, I worry that it is a great flaw in me that I have so much difficulty separating the artist from their art; it makes me worry that I lack a full understanding of art, not to mention it calls into question my understanding of Post Modernism, deconstructionst, and myriad other theories I should be well versed in at this point.

      I say with great sincerity that I appreciate your comments and how it begs for deeper conversations around art, artists, misogyny, and the shifting of norms, or how art can normalize behaviors.

  5. Leland Gutierrez June 21, 2013 at 1:38 am #

    Polanski reportedly lamented that the pill had blurred the distinctions between the sexes, though I fail to see how pregnancy dangers is so essential to Polanski’s view of the sexes. He added “I think that now offering flowers to a lady becomes indecent, that’s how I feel about it . . . I think to level the genders — it’s purely idiotic. I think it’s a result… of progress in medicine. I think that the Pill has changed greatly the woman of our times, ‘masculinising’ her — how would you say it? . . . I think that it chases away the romance from our lives and that’s a great pity.” The danger of pregnancy is an essential part of the romance? Of course, given his criminal history, lawful consent is not so essential.

  6. Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 31, 2013 at 7:50 am #

    Clarissa, thank you for reblogging this article! 🙂


  1. Does He Not Understand? | Clarissa's Blog - May 31, 2013

    […] A blogger asks about Polanski: […]

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