My break-up letter to Emma Thompson

emma-thompsonDear Emma,

I hate to do this in such an impersonal way, but let’s face it: breaking up by text message, voicemail and fax is no longer considered as crass as it once was.  It’s just a small step to breaking up by blog.

Yes, I said “breaking up.”  It’s over between us, Emma.  My long imaginary affair with you has withstood many obstacles: my preference for staying with my partner of 15 years, your preference for being heterosexual and marrying Greg Wise, the impossible geographic distance between us, the fact that we’ve never met…  It even withstood “Junior.”

But now your name appears on a petition signed by luminaries who think it’s unfair to extradite Roman Polanski to stand trial for the rape of a 13-year old girl, and that is more than I can take.

You’re an exceptionally intelligent and well-informed woman.  That was always one of the things I liked about you.  Surely you knew the facts of the case before you signed the petition?  If not, you really should read Judy Berman’s summary, which quickly gets to the heart of the matter (and – fair warning – with anatomical precision):

“Roman Polanski raped a child. Let’s just start right there, because that’s the detail that tends to get neglected when we start discussing whether it was fair for the bail-jumping director to be arrested at age 76, after 32 years in “exile” (which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar, but never — poor baby — being able to return to the U.S.). Let’s keep in mind that Roman Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and champagne, then raped her, before we start discussing whether the victim looked older than her 13 years, or that she now says she’d rather not see him prosecuted because she can’t stand the media attention. Before we discuss how awesome his movies are or what the now-deceased judge did wrong at his trial, let’s take a moment to recall that according to the victim’s grand jury testimony, Roman Polanski instructed her to get into a jacuzzi naked, refused to take her home when she begged to go, began kissing her even though she said no and asked him to stop; performed cunnilingus on her as she said no and asked him to stop; put his penis in her vagina as she said no and asked him to stop; asked if he could penetrate her anally, to which she replied, “No,” then went ahead and did it anyway, until he had an orgasm.

This is why it grieves me so to see your name on that list.  It just doesn’t make sense.  You have spoken out frequently and passionately for the rights of women and children – protesting sex trafficking, inaction on AIDS, and womens’ unequal access to healthcare and education.  Surely you can see the connection between your chummy industry’s willingness to excuse a Towering Figure for drugging and raping a 13-year old girl, and the exploitation and oppression you battle as an activist?

Maybe it was a mistake?  Maybe it isn’t “my” Emma Thompson on the list of signatories?  Or maybe there was a terrible misunderstanding: perhaps you thought it was a petition to prohibit additional runways at Heathrow?  But I have waited and hoped in vain for a correction, retraction, an expression of righteous indignation, or regrets from you.  For now, as much as it pains me, I must accept that “my” Emma Thompson is apparently as much a figment of my imagination as our affair.



P.S. Unbelievably, several other smart Hollywood women have added their names to that petition, also.  But someone else can take them to task.  Your name was the real heartbreaker for me.

P.P.S.  A poem by Calvin Trillin: “What Whoopi Goldberg (‘Not a Rape-Rape’), Harvey Weinstein (‘So-Called Crime’) et al. Are Saying in Their Outrage Over the Arrest of Roman Polanski”

Seriously, go read that.

P.P.P.S.  Here’s Whoopi parsing the intricacies of this case in terms of rape and “rape-rape.

(Update!  11/4/09, according to Shakespeare’s Sister, Emma Thompson has reconsidered and is asking that her name be removed from the petition!)

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