Sunday 11 January 2015

Roman Polanski is a rapist, so why can he work and Ched Evans can't?

Just recently, the US government has requested the Polish Government to execute an arrest warrant on Roman Polanski, the film director who drugged and raped a 13 year old girl in 1978, admitted it, then, being convicted and facing a prison sentence, fled to Europe. Ever since, Polanski could count on the lax extradition laws of Switzerland and a good dose of Anti-Americanism in France, his chosen second home. Hence he was free to continue with his career and make millions in the process. Note that Polanski does not dispute the fact that he drugged and raped the victim and that he was lawfully convicted.

Not a conscience in sight - the convicted rapist Roman Polanski
celebrating in Cannes in 2013

Now, for a slightly different case, or perhaps not quite so different. Ched Evans, a football player who was convicted of rape and who subsequently served a 5 year sentence (half of this suspended now). As he was trying to rehabilitate himself through work (yes, exactly what Polanski did all along) all hell broke lose. Apparently, so the argument goes, Evans should never be allowed to work as a footballer because he would make a lot of money, or because he would be a role model, or because he would be in the public eye. Strangely, all things that Polanski is allowed to do, unless you call receiving the Palme D'Or at Cannes Film Festival a private affair. 

Catherine Bennett of The Guardian identified the shocking hypocrisy in this line of argument pointing out that the only difference between Evans and Polanski is that the latter is supposed to be an artist (apparently, rape is ok for artists... part of finding their muse?) and the former just a footballer. 

So, unless I see those who scream loudest about Ched Evans boycott and picket the next Polanski movie in London, I'd say: Ched Evans deserves to play football, rape or no rape. 

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