- 06 Mar 18
She may have wanted to put it behind her many years ago, but Samantha Geimer has been forced to relive, over and over again, the fact that, as a 13 year-old, she was raped by the film director Roman Polanski. Which is why she now wants to take ownership of the narrative and tell everyone what she really feels about Polanski, what he did, the US justice system, the #MeToo movement – and lots more besides – in this world exclusive Hot Press interview.
Samantha Geimer may have been known all her life as simply the girl. But she has no desire for anyone to be coy. She is the 13-year-old who was raped by the much garlanded film director, Roman Polanski.
The rape occurred in 1977. The ensuing court case, which was dubbed the trial of the century at the time, led to a media feeding-frenzy. Now, over forty years later, it has erupted again.
“I’m sex victim girl! That’s my nickname for myself, which everybody hates. I think it’s funny,” Samantha says, as she sits down in her Hawaii home and invites me to pull up a chair to hear her extraordinary story – and her outspoken views on a whole host of trending topics.
Now 54-years-old, she prefers to be called Sam. In the wake of all the sex scandals that have rocked Hollywood, acres of media coverage are being devoted again to the experience she went through at the hands of Roman Polanski. You could argue that Sam was the first high-profile #mettoo case.
Surprisingly, when I ask if she still hates Polanski – a man who drugged her and raped her – Sam shakes her head.
“No, not at all,” she says. “I don’t know him. He seems like a fine person. I think his daughter is amazing. I hope his family’s happy. I never hated him. I hated a lot of people – somehow he’s not on the top of that list, because so much was happening from other directions. It’s hard to have feelings for someone you don’t know. I hope he’s well.”
When I ask if her husband hates him, she pops her head round the corner and asks him: “Honey, do you hate Roman?”
“Do I hate him? I don’t hate him. He’s 80-fucking-years-old!” he says, and goes back to watching TV.
She’s laughing. “Everyone’s had a long time to get over it. Hating people’s not my thing. That is bad for you. That’s toxic to me. I’m not going to hurt myself thinking I’m hurting somebody else. There’s no more resentment. There certainly isn’t hate.
“It’s more like, ‘Wow! I can’t believe we’re still going through this... what feels like abuse’ – it’s literally like him and his family, and me and my family.”
During the original trial, having pleaded guilty, Polanski fled the US because of the threat of a ‘forever’ sentence. There’s still a warrant out for his arrest. As a result, he couldn’t pick up the Oscar he won for The Pianist back in 2003.
The 84-year-old has managed to remain at large because he was born to Polish parents, in Paris. He can safely live there without fear of arrest, because his crime isn’t an extraditable offence under French law.
“There’s a little bit of empathy for that (situation). Nobody wishes anything bad on any anybody. For god’s sake! It was 40 years ago. I’m fine. I know people don’t want to hear that,” Sam says flatly.
“Sex does not necessarily damage you and demean you and hurt you and steal your soul and make you unworthy,” she adds. “It’s not true. You can actually just be okay and not have all that stuff people want to put on you for themselves.”
At one point, after a humorous wave of expletives, Sam tells me: “Excuse my swearing. Most of my answers are prepared because people ask me the same stuff, right? So, I don’t have to think about my answers. I know what people want to know. It’s the same shit all the time. But you’re making me think. You’ve given me a run for my money.”
What follows is, I think, an utterly fascinating interview.
Jason O’Toole: I know that you were very young but did you have boyfriends before all this happened?
Samantha Geimer: A couple, yeah. Let me think – nobody ever asked me about before. Honestly, three or four boyfriends. It was 1977.
Were you a virgin at the time of the rape?
I wasn’t a virgin. I was almost 14. My boyfriend and I finally went all the way two weeks before what happened with Roman.
Thirteen is young to have sex.
In retrospect, it seems that way. But I’m assured by my now adult sons that there’s plenty of teenage sex going on in the world, as grownups are looking the other way. I was growing up during the time of the movies Pretty Baby and Taxi Driver. I grow up in a time when things were just a lot different. So, maybe I’m making excuses for not being a virgin (laughs).
If you’d become pregnant by Polanski, what would you have done?
There’s no way I was having a baby at 14. No. Not his. It’s 1977. It was your legal right that you could go to your doctor.
But you can’t in Ireland. Isn’t that crazy?
Yeah! Well, if you have money you can go somewhere else. But keep fighting the good fight. Imagine living in America right now? Oh my God! I’m sure you guys will get those laws changed the way you want them. And I’m sure America will eventually sort itself back right.
Polanski gave you a Quaalude before raping you. Had you done drugs?
No. I did some drinking and smoked pot. One time we got into my Dad’s liqueur cabinet. I wasn’t partying, but a couple of times we smoked weed or drank a little bit.
What was your first impression of Polanski?
I wasn’t paying too much attention. He looked like every other person that my mom and stepdad knew. My mom and stepdad were excited because he’s coming to maybe take my picture. Wow! It’s funny because he didn’t seem particularly impressed with me and I wasn’t much impressed with him. He spent more time talking to my mother and stepdad. So, I was a little bit surprised when he said, ‘Let’s do a test shoot’.
Did you notice anything as he took those topless photos of you?
He seemed super unsatisfied. I didn’t think it went very well. He expressed only some approval and mostly direction. It was completely impersonal. It was work, like a job.
He then took you out to Jack Nicholson’s house, which is where he raped you. Was there anything that might have forewarned you?
No. Nothing. I did get quite intoxicated, but no. It was like taking pictures with a photographer – kind of sexy pictures and topless pictures. But I’m like, ‘I’m 14. Look at Brook Shields, she’s 13 in Pretty Baby. Look at Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver. This is fine’. I was convincing myself. In hindsight, I knew it wasn’t okay. He wasn’t very friendly and he didn’t make me feel like I was doing a very good job. So, I was like working, trying to model. I knew that this was not okay, but, in the back on my head, it’s like, ‘Do you want to be famous or not?’ I don’t think your brain is fully developed at 14.
It was out of the blue…
By the time I figured it out, it was almost too late. It seemed very sudden. I’d been drinking and I couldn’t function 100 percent. It’s odd to describe it in the way you’re asking because it was all business – except the very last 15 minutes! By the time I realised, ‘Oh my gosh! This guy wants to have sex with me,’ the night was over. All of a sudden, it was like, ‘I fucked up!’
Do you believe it was premeditated?
No. I’m sure that there were plenty of teenage girls happy to have sex with him. I was trying to act like I was 21. ‘Sure give me a pill’ (the Quaalude – JOT). He decided, ‘She looks willing. Let me test that out’.
The defence put forward – which of course is no defence – was that you looked a lot older than your age.
He knew how old I was. He shouldn’t have done it. He realises now what a shitty thing it was to do. The second I realised, ‘Oh my gosh! He wants to do adult things with me. How the fuck did I get here? I’m drunk! And I’m on a Quaalude’, I told him I had asthma. It was like, ‘Ok, maybe I can avoid this’. And then we went back in the house. Then he was like, ‘Are you okay? Sit down’. You know what happened after that. It happened really fast. And the focus has always been on that little bit of time. But it was just like, ‘Shit! This isn’t right. How did I get here?’
Polanski gave a version of events in his memoir published in 1984. How did you react to that?
I took exception to it. It’s just unkind. It wasn’t wrong or inaccurate so much as that he portrayed my family like we were low class. I didn’t want to have sex with him – he may not have remembered that, but it’s the truth. But it was more the way he talked about my Mom and my stepfather and where we lived. I was like, ‘Really? After what’s happened, you need to do that?’
He also doesn’t mention in it that you told him ‘no’.
I said, ‘No’. But it came out more like (weakly), ‘No, no’. It was like, ‘Wait! No! No!’ I was just like, ‘No,’ and a couple of more No’s and then it was like, ‘I guess we’re having sex. This is happening! Fuck! That’s (pretending to have asthma) not working. I’d nothing else. I guess we’re having sex and then I can go home. I’m so high. I’m such a fucking idiot. This is not right. This is bad thing. Fuck! How did I get here?’ And, ‘Just get me home so I can like process whatever the fuck just happened’. I was scared. I took a Quaalude. I was fucked up. I think I was more scared about how high I got.
In court documents it stated that Polanski performed oral sex on you and then sodomised you.
There was a little poke at the end! I didn’t understand at the time. It was like, ‘What was that?’
Was it painful?
No. None of it was. None of it was as bad as people make it seem. I was high. I was just trying to get through it. And there was this little ‘Whoa!’, you know? What was that? I wasn’t even sure. I wanted to go home, figure out what just happened. I didn’t get a chance for that – my mum called the cops (after Samantha’s sister overheard her talking about the rape to her then boyfriend – JOT). I’d never heard of any type of anal sex. I didn’t know what that was – I was 13.
Were you emotional or crying?
No. After I got in the car, I cried a little bit. But during it, it was just somebody having sex with me. It was only the second time. I wasn’t thinking if it’s good or bad: ‘I’m going to try to think about something else’. It wasn’t mean or horrible. It’s not like people want to make it. He wanted me to enjoy. But I just felt, ‘I can’t because this is fucked up. I don’t know what’s happening! I just need to get out of here’.
I know this is a difficult issue in all sorts of ways, but is it possible to describe what you felt at the time?
You know, it’s weird – biologically there were moments when it was like, ‘Oh! Well, that’s nuts!’ It was like, ‘Oh my God! I can’t!’ And I would try not to pay attention. But, in all honesty, he wasn’t hurting me. And I’m a young woman and can feel things! I was like, ‘This is wrong and it shouldn’t feel good’ – making sure it didn’t! ‘It’s bad enough that this is happening, I don’t even want to think about rating what it feels like – that’s wrong’. People get abused by their family repeatedly and then they feel like, ‘Oh! But I felt that biological pleasure’, and feel guilt and shame. But you can’t always help that. I want to be clear: that does happen, and it’s ok, and it doesn’t make what’s happening not rape.
Did you have an awful experience: ‘I feel pleasure and then I feel guilty’?
Almost. It got to just right there. He’s like, ‘Does it feel good?’ And it’s like ‘Does this feel good? Wait! No, no, no!’ He was hoping that I would enjoy it. So, it wasn’t like the type of experience that people feel like it should’ve been. I wasn’t resisting. I’m sure he thought I was probably 90 percent cool with it.
It was rape.
Legally: I was 13 – that’s rape. It’s a fair age to be still called a child, for it still to be a more severe crime. I didn’t want to, and he persuaded me. I didn’t feel, ‘Oh! I’m being raped’. I felt, ‘Oh my God! This guy’s going to have sex with me and I can’t get out of here. Shit! The sex is happening and then I’m leaving’ – that’s the way I thought about it. I didn’t have sexual hangs up and wasn’t like, ‘Oh! Sex. I’m going to be damaged’. Back then sex was sex. But it was still really a bad thing and he knows it.
Irish journalist Tom Humphries received a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for raping a 14-year-old girl. Was that severe enough?
Maybe it’s not enough. It probably wouldn’t have seemed short to me in 1977, but it seems short now. I think people expect more. (Certainly) people who are dangerous need to be put behind bars.
There were people who accused your mother of pimping you out.
I know: ‘Your horrible, gold-digging pimp of a mom’. She felt horrible and responsible to begin with. It was really hard on her – more than on me, because they kept me away from the news. There was no Internet.
Did it occur to you that your mother should’ve supervised those photo-shoots?
She thinks that. But it seemed so normal. He’s this really famous artist, director. It’s like a giant opportunity for me. She said, ‘Can I go?’ He said, ‘No. She’ll be more natural if you don’t’. Which is true. But it never crossed anybody’s mind that he would do anything inappropriate. If I had said, ‘He took pictures of me without my shirt’, there would’ve been no next shoot. So, maybe I should’ve done that (laughs).
Did the experience change your attitudes towards sex?
I wanted to move on and have what felt like appropriate sexual relationships with my boyfriend. I wanted to erase that and go forward with fun sex, which is not how everybody reacts. Nobody told me sex was a bad thing, or it hurts you. It’s just my body – it’s not my heart and my soul and my mind. That doesn’t diminish me. It was shitty – but it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t have the guilt or shame that seems so common. I’m super-glad I didn’t. It certainly did change my life, but not in an internal way.
It must’ve been tough all the same.
It was really hard. The next fours years of my life were a super party feast. I dropped out of high school. I went through a bad phase of being self-destructive. I took a detour from responsibility. I pushed through it. I am sure it changed me as a person in ways I don’t even know. I learnt a lot of lessons. I learnt to stand up for myself. It’s made me better. The whole thing made me stronger.
Did you become depressed or suicidal?
One time I did a little fakey ‘I’m going to hurt myself’. But I wasn’t going to hurt myself. I was being dramatic. I didn’t feel depressed – I felt angry. I was raw and mean and angry. My poor Mom. She feels bad. She’s getting all this hate from the outside and I’m like, ‘I hate you too’. I was angry, and then for a while I was reckless. I’m probably scared from what happened to me – not what Roman did, but what happened with the media and court. It was trial by fire. We were all traumatised. Every day there was something – and finally he left, and it was over. I worked through it. It didn’t leave me with any lasting regrets or sadness. Life goes on.
There is a sense in what you are saying that the court case might have damaged you more than the actual rape.
Yes. That whole year. It was 15 minutes of your life where something shitty happens: I knew I was going to be fine. But the next year of the hell my family went through, there’s no comparison. The grand jury testimony was worse than what happened that night – the questions they asked me, it was horrible.
To put it mildly, the judicial process didn’t impress you…
The judge was a lunatic. No matter how we tried to resolve it in some reasonable plea deal, he just couldn’t stand it. He couldn’t stand that he wasn’t getting me on the stand in ‘The Trial of the Century’. It was all about him. It was highly inappropriate, immoral.
For people who don’t know the background, the judge initially put Polanski behind bars to have him assessed for ‘psychosis’. A deal was then struck, but the judge reneged on it and started talking about locking him up and throwing away the key.
He admitted what he’d done, he’d said he was sorry – maybe you can give him probation or counselling? We were all scared. We were all victim of this judge behaving bizarrely. So, he (Polanski) went home to France, which I would’ve done too under the circumstances. Nobody knew what the judge was going to do. What if he sentenced Roman to 50 years and he died the next day? I was glad he (Polanski) left. I was relieved he left the country.
There’s an outstanding warrant for Polanski’s arrest. The rape is brought up every time he has a new movie out.
(Nodding) Yeah, yeah. So, that’s the part no one anticipated and that’s what we’re stuck with now – this weird, 40 year, unresolved (legal case). If something happens with him I get mentioned. It used to be scary, but now I deal with it. It’s part of my life. It’s a little like, right now, there’s a couple of bursts because of the #metoo thing or the Oscars. There’ll be these little bleeps of, ‘Hey! Check out sex victim girl! Which does she think?’ That’s the way it feels to me. That’s my nickname for myself – which everybody hates. I think it’s funny. When I was young, people would be like, ‘Are you that…?’ ‘Yes, I’m sex victim girl’.
Have you ever watched his films?
(Laughs) Don’t laugh at me. The Fearless Vampire Killers was my favourite movie as a young person. I have it. I saw it on TV as a child. If I had known that that was him when I met him, I would’ve been like, ‘That’s the best movie I ever saw. It’s scary, yet it’s funny. It’s brilliant’. But I didn’t realise that until years later and then it was like, ‘Oh my God! I can’t believe I didn’t know that was him and Sharon Tate, and I’d never put it together’. I like The Ninth Gate. I know people don’t like that. I didn’t like Chinatown. I didn’t like Rosemary’s Baby. I didn’t like Tess. His movies are sad and dark. It’s not the kind of stuff I watch. I’m not a fan.
Polanski tries to play the sympathy card, with the fact that his parents died in the Holocaust and his wife was murdered by the Manson family.
It’s all true. But I think that’s horrible. I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that he hurt me. The two things aren’t related. It’s not an excuse. You can’t use that to excuse bad behaviour.
Quentin Tarantino, who is making a movie about the Manson murders, landed in hot water when stuff he said about Polanski on the Howard Stern Show 15 years ago, resurfaced. “It was statutory rape… he had sex with a minor. That’s not rape,” he said.
Regarding Tarantino, I’m never bothered when people say things like that. What he said wasn’t true, plus I don’t care. (When it resurfaced) I felt like, once again, I was being used to attack a celebrity with no consideration that I am a person. It was 15 years ago!
He has since apologised.
He called and then wrote an apology, which was nice. He was just trying to be controversial on the Howard Stern Show. I asked about the new movie and he said it was not like it sounds, so I was relieved. And we both enjoyed Roman’s The Fearless Vampire Killers when we were young. We had a good chat. No hard feelings from me. I have listened to all kinds of terrible and untrue things about my mother and I, since I was 13, so I have a pretty thick skin and a good sense of humour.
Some Hollywood stars like Whoopi Goldberg said it wasn’t “rape rape”.
I laughed. It was like, ‘Oh God! You can’t say that. She’s going to get shit’. But I knew what she meant. She meant it wasn’t a violent (rape) like the way I thought about it when it happened, like, ‘That can’t be rape! That wasn’t violent or brutal’. Technically, yes, it’s rape. Legally, yes, it’s rape. I think by the standards of those days, the fact that I really didn’t resist, if I was a year older, it would’ve been different. Rape back then was like violent and hurtful. You’d think of that as somebody just pressured you. Times are different now. But she meant, ‘It’s not like he’s a monster’ (laughs). I understood that. I didn’t take offence.
Irish broadcaster George Hook got into trouble when he talked about rape and asked, live on air, ‘Is there no blame now to the person who puts themselves in danger?’
The person who rapes somebody is the only person responsible for it – that’s it. Not you. Not the person who didn’t tell on him. Not his mother. Not circumstances. If you rape somebody you did it – no one else. The blame’s on you – period. You can’t say stuff like that. You’ve got to know better.
Some people seemed to think it was unfair to pull him off the air!
If he worked for me, he’d be taking a long break because that’s stupid. If you work for me and you’re going to be that stupid then, no, you need a break. And you’ve offended people and maybe they don’t even want you back – so think before you speak.
Another presenter, Dil Wickremasinghe, refused to continue with her show if Hook wasn’t taken off air…
He should’ve been taken off the air straight away.
A short while later, the station dropped her…
Yeah, being a woman! How’s that for you! That’s not cool. That’s why women are mad and we’re marching in the streets here in America, going like, ‘No, we’re not going to take that treatment anymore. It’s ridiculous’. Hopefully she’ll do better for it. At least she stood by her principles – that’s the most important thing.
It was a bizarre sequence of events…
It’s bullshit. You can’t protect one person and get rid of her. This is not like 1960. I would predict that within the next year there’s going to be more trouble at that station because things there aren’t being handled correctly. That’s just bullshit. I understand in Britain there’s a thing about equal pay for women…
In Ireland, the newscaster Sharon Ní Bheoláin earned less than her co-anchor Bryan Dobson when they read the news together on RTÉ.
I hope she quit, or asked for a raise, or threw a fit. But the thing is: the people who are employing you, they’ve known that all along. The things you’re describing, that’s the way things work all over the place – but that’s not okay. And there’s only one way to change it – and that’s to stand up and change it. That’s the important thing about what everyone’s trying to do now.
Many A-list stars still vocally support Polanski.
I think you can defend him against what has been very unfair treatment by the American courts. He did not receive justice and it’s shame on the courts. I know it sounds sappy, but it’s an embarrassment to America that our justice system is that shitty. We’ve been in this trench for so long, just trying to get out of it. We’ve been allies longer than we were ever adversaries. We’re fighting the same fight. It’s been going on for 25 years. We’re both up the creek (laughs).
Is it acceptable for people to still enjoy Polanski’s work regardless of his crimes?
Sure. Absolutely. Why not? What does that have to do with me? He did a bad thing, he went to jail – but he’s never supposed to work again? I don’t understand that kind of criticism. If you don’t want to see a Woody Allen movie because you believe that he’s a creepy child molester, don’t go see his movies. Don’t work with him. It’s overkill. It’s too much. Don’t tell other people what they should see.
Actors are apologising for working with Woody Allen.
They are under pressure to apologise. An apology now is not really costing anybody anything. It’s not skin off you. So, I don’t like it. I don’t like that people are not supposed to work with him or work for him or see his movies, and be sorry that they did. It’s fine if they want to apologise if they feel bad. But he’s never even been charged with a crime. We’re just going to judge him in the court of public opinion? I don’t think it’s fair to say, ‘You must believe one side of this story or the other side’.
It can be argued that you’re really the first #metoo case.
It’s really my #momtoo. My Mom stood up and took consequences. She showed me, even though I didn’t understand it for a long time that I was worth more than that. That she was not going to allow that to happen to me with no consequences. She was showing me self-respect. I feel like my Mom should be credited. She did this a long time ago. It was just us. It wasn’t #metoo. It was like #justus. It was a lot harder to be all by yourself than it is to have a hashtag and a bunch of celebrities into it. She was on her own. Nobody thought it was a good thing at the time. She got treated really badly and doesn’t get much credit for what she did – which was the right thing.
So, you can obviously relate to the #metoo movement…
In the ways that it’s positive, I’m 100 percent in. It was like, ‘Yeah! Let’s show how many people this affects’. And then I was like, ‘Wait! Are we just taking down celebrities here? What about all the people who have problems in their lives that don’t have politicians or celebrities involved?’ I don’t like seeing that it’s gone that way. It was well intended. I’m a little worried that it’s going in directions that are not helpful.
In what sense?
I don’t really think it should be used to take down celebrities. We’re trying to get equal wages and equal rights, and to end a society where sexual harassment is tolerated. So, I feel trying to take out Woody Allen or Roman Polanski or James Franco, it’s like, ‘Hey! Focus! We’re trying to make the world better for women and being mean to celebrities that’s not it…’ Listening to everybody who wants to say, ‘Al Franken touched my waist’. Ok, just stop! Let’s move forward. If it just turns into a weapon to use against celebrities and politicians then that’s pretty sad. I think all this celebrity bashing is a distraction and it’s not really nice.
Is there a danger in that people’s reputation can be destroyed by a few anonymous tweets.
It doesn’t happen much, but that doesn’t mean that it never happens – so that’s why we have courts and police. Go to court – otherwise don’t be accusing people of things and expecting dire consequences when you’ve never bothered to prove it. That sounds kind of shitty – I’m sorry. We’re having #metoo now, so every single celebrity is going to have a bunch of people talk about stuff they did 20 and 30 years ago. Ok, it’s probably true. I don’t know. But who’s this helping?
A lot of women would be afraid to say that publicly.
It seems like it’s going a little screwy somehow. #metoo should be about empowerment – not about glamorising victimhood, as if that’s the point. The point shouldn’t be: show us how bad you feel. The point should be: you can feel better and let me tell you how because we’ve all been through this, so don’t worry. I don’t think #metoo should be a weapon. We should be strong, moving forward, stopping abusive treatment. If you’re using it as a weapon to take people out, over stuff that happened maybe a while back or a long time back, I don’t see the value in that. #metoo is not supposed to be a weapon. I feel that it’s getting used that way by people and it bothers me.
Like who for instance?
Like conservative people who don’t like Hollywood; or religious people who don’t like women to have any type of sexual freedom. I don’t want to see it being taken over and used for the wrong purposes. The purpose is to help people. If you’re not helping anybody then you should think about what you’re doing. It’s a little concerning, because it’s really been (like) ‘men are pigs’. If you’re on Twitter you see it’s more: display your damage for the world to see and that’s the only way you’ll ever feel better. That’s bullshit. I don’t think women need to display damage for healing or entertainment. I like Time’s Up because that seems more like a real (movement). Time’s Up: ‘That guy did that. We are now changing things’. I think that’s more positive.
It can be therapeutic to get things off your chest…
It might make people feel better. Maybe some people feel solidarity by expressing it and reaching out. And that’s good if you can make an anonymous Tweet and say, ‘Something bad happened to me and writing this down is helping me’. But that’s not the same thing as specifically going after people to hurt them.
From what we’ve read, Dustin Hoffman made crude jokes and patted someone on the ass. It’s wrong. But what about lumping him in with rapists?
You’ve got to concentrate on the goal. The goal is to make things better for women. Bitching about Dustin Hoffman is not really helpful. But it does show that this has been very widespread. Apparently they behave worse now, which is the part that blows my mind. I didn’t know pulling your dick out was a thing! My husband I were talking about this – this guy and that guy and they masturbated in front of these women. And we were like, ‘What?! When did that start happening? Like, that’s a thing? People do that! Oh my God!’
Do you feel Woody Allen, Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanksi and Kevin Spacey should be stripped of their Oscars?
No. Why? What’s an Oscar? ‘You’re a Good Human Being Award!’ No, it’s not. You made a good movie: that says nothing about who you are as a person. Oscars – who cares? Maybe you don’t get another one. Does that undo any of the harm that man has done? No. It’s an empty gesture. It doesn’t undo shit.
There are others who have claimed they were raped by Polanski.
But when you have to put up a website, imetromanpolanski.com to get a few teenage girls to come out and say, ‘He had sex with me. I was 16’. ‘I was 15’. I’m the only one he raped. We went to court. I proved it. A lot of them don’t even say they had sex, they make these vague like, ‘He victimised me’ or, ‘He abused me’. What does ‘victimised me’ mean? Did he rape you or not? So, there’s no details. I always figured that he probably had sex with lots of teenage girls. I don’t think that he denies that he did.
He reportedly had a relationship in Germany with Nastassja Kinski who was 15 at the time (though she denies it – Sub Ed).
They had their relationship. It lasted for a long time. She was young. People can judge that, or not. Obviously, it doesn’t look great. If she wants to be his girlfriend and she’s happy she did it, like, (more) power to her. She was young, she doesn’t seem to have any problems with him. I try not to be too judgmental, but his life does provoke people to disagree with his moral standards of what he thinks is okay romantically.
Is Polanski a paedophile?
I don’t think so. I looked up the definition: pre-pubescent. That’s children. That’s sick. Like, five year olds, eight year old, ten year old, 12 years old. Children who are children. That is a really serious messed up thing. If somebody’s doing that they’re sick. Maybe somebody’s creepy and they go after teenage girls, and it’s shitty and it’s wrong, but it’s not paedophilia. Don’t throw in 17-year-olds, and me. I don’t think we should throw people in there for the sensation of saying that word. It takes away from the actual crime. There’s child traffickers out there. Let’s not pretend that we’re hunting down paedophiles by calling Roman Polanski one. Let’s hunt down paedophiles.
Would you say he’s as bad as Harvey Weinstein?
No. Someone wrote an article comparing the two – it was really offensive. From what I hear, Harvey Weinstein was systematically harassing, manipulating, like having people followed with private investigators, paying them off, and making them sign agreements. Like, that’s a whole different thing. That’s predatory behaviour. That’s somebody who’s using their power to hurt and intimidate people. That’s just far beyond Roman making his mistakes and having sex with girls who’re too young. If somebody feels really hurt by him, I don’t mean to disregard that they feel really hurt by Roman. But Weinstein – wow! That seems way more serious, like years and years of bad behaviour. He seems like a really bad person and I don’t think Roman’s a really bad person.
Would it be fair to describe Polanski as a sex predator?
He is now 84. His life is what it is now. I would certainly say it would’ve been fair back then to call him a dirty old man. I don’t know if he’s really a predator because I don’t think he really had to be. He had plenty of girls and women. You could call him a predator or not; I don’t want to. I think it’s not fair now, because the guy has a family, he’s older. He has a wife. Can we think about her for a minute? Give him a fucking break. This was a long time ago. He was a shitty person. That’s not happening anymore.
Have you forgiven Roman Polanski for raping you?
Yes. It was a terrible thing to do. But it was a long time ago. We’ve all been through a lot. I know he never meant to hurt me or for any of this to happen. He was just a shitty person and did a shitty thing. But that was 40 years ago. He apologised in a letter: ‘It wasn’t your mother’s fault. I’m sorry. It’s on me. I hope you’re good’. Bad things happen in life. You get over them and move on. That’s apparently some weird thing that’s hard for people to understand (laughs).