I’ve long been a fan of Anne Applebaum’s, which is why I’m so dissappointed in her support for Polanski. The line Ramesh links to below from Applebaum is really awful.
Yes, there is “evidence” that Polanski did not know the girls age – or that he was told but did not believe it: He has told people since that, anyway. Pictures of her from the time show a girl who could be anywhere from 12-25.
First, that Polanski said he didn’t know her age is really not compelling testimony, is it? What else would he say? Is it remotely plausible that her age never came up when the “photoshoot” was arranged? Besides, he’s on record digging teenage girls (as I noted in my column today) and started a “romantic” relationship with Nastassja Kinski when she was fifteen. Moreover, let’s say he did think she was older. Does that mean it’s okay to drug her and rape her then?
Oh, and here’s a picture sent to me by a reader from “Private Pictures” by photojournalists Daniel Angeli & Jean-Paul Dousset (Viking Press, 1980, ISBN 0-670-57849-5). The caption reads: “Polanski with teenage girls in St. Tropez just after his trouble in California (1978).” It’s not exactly damning in its own right, but if I’d “accidentally” raped a teenage girl — or was unfairly accused of doing so — I’d stay pretty clear of teenage girls, particularly when photographers were around.
Update: From a reader:
the argument that Polanski didn’t know the girl’s age is false, anyway. It is in the grand jury testimony, where he admitted that he knew she was 13. Patterico has the links.
Update II: Here’s Polanski admitting under sworn testimony he knew she was 13.