Micahel Jackson and roman Polanski: double standard?

After perusing and participating in a lot of the current Michael Jackson threads it occurred to me that the allegations in the Jackson case are quite similar to the crime that Polanski committed. Both allegedly plied twelve year old victims with alcohol and drugs in order to sexually abuse them.

If anything, Polankski’s crime was worse than waht Jackson is accused of because Polanski’s crime included both vaginal and anal penetration while Jackson’s charges seem to be limited to “iinappropriate touching.”

Jackson has been (justifiably if the allegations are true) roundly villified publicly and has become a pariah in the entertainment community. Polanski, on the other hand, has garnered at least some public support, particularly in Hollywood, and was even recently rewarded with an Oscar. He still has fans, even on this board, continues to work with top Hollywood talent (albeit in France) and is still taken seriously as an artist.

So why is it different for Polanski than for Jackson? The most significant diffrence I can think of is that Jackson’s victim was a boy while Polanski’s was a girl. It seems to me like there is some public perception that molesting a boy is worse than molesting a girl. Why is that? Is there a subtle homophobic element at work here? Why do so many see Polanski’s crime as forgivable while no one would ever say that Jackson deserves the slightest sympathy if the allegations are true?

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not arguing that anyone who molests a little boy deserves any sympathy. I’m arguing that Polanski doesn’t either. Am I wrong?

Why is MJ worse? I wasn’t alive back when Polanski did his thing. I can’t really get outraged over something that happened before I was born. That would be like me getting outraged over the Manson murders (ironic comparison, yes?).

On top of that, consider that I have a kid, and the mere thought of someone messing with him makes my blood boil. That might be different were I childless.

Sorry Diogenes, but this is a false premise.

I have seen lots of support for Jackson from mainstream celebs and musicians.

Like who? Uri Gellar? Elizabeth Taylor has abandoned him and Lisa Marie won’t even talk about him.

Even those who do defend him do so under the premise that they believe in his innocence. Those who defend Polanski don’t deny that he’s guilty they just think he should be forgiven. I guarantee you won’t see any celebrities arguing that Michael should be forgiven if proven guilty.

Oh, I forgot two other things:

First, this is the second time he’s been busted. Fool me once, shame on me…fool me twice, shame on you. It has nothing to do with the sex of the alleged victim. It has everything to do with the fact that he was caught before and yet continued to do it.

Second, it’s not racist. Nobody cares that he’s black. All anybody cares about is that he’s a freak and has been for years. So that dog won’t hunt either.

Those that defend Polanski are asking forgiveness for an old man who did his thing 25+ years ago, in addition to the sympathy and goodwill he gets because of Sharon Tate’s murder. I think it’s a little too soon to feel bad for MJ, especially since there’s nothing extraneous to justify feeling bad for the guy.

Airman, did you read my OP? I said absolutely nothing about race. I was asking if people perceive it as worse when the victim is a boy. Where did you get race from?

I just wanted to knock that one out before it came up. Sorry about that.

In your OP you addressed the issue like the real problem was the homosexual aspect of it. I just wanted to try to shoot down the race thing as well, since a lot of people around are already yelling racism about the whole thing, including Jermaine Jackson.

So pardon the interruption, and carry on. :slight_smile:

The racism card doesn’t work here, because MJ hasn’t been black in over 10 years.

Ok, Airman.

FWIW, I think racism has zero to do with Jackson’s charges and I’d be right there with you to call bullshit on anyone who says otherwise.

I’ve never said that Polanski shouldn’t be held accountable. I think that both of them should. But there are differences.

  1. Polanski’s victim (the only one that I’m familiar with) does not want to see him punished for the crime and I’m not certain what purpose punishment would serve. I’m not opposed to his serving time, however.

  2. Polanski’s Oscar was for an extraordinary film – The Pianist. He has continued to produce works of art. This film is particularly poignant because it is about the survival or art and the artist during the Holocaust. (Polanski survived the Warsaw ghetto.)

  3. Michael Jackson’s work, in my opinion, has deteriorated in the last twenty years. The man can dance but to me his style is a put off.

One thing that particularly bothers me about MJ is the deception. I do not know what kind of mental of emotional instability he suffers from, but he is a walking lie.

The next time that you see the tape of MJ and the children opening Christmas presents, notice how emotionally distant Michael is from the child he is with. There is no warmth at all. It is as if he is going through the motions. To me it is chilling.

At any rate, the biggest difference is that Polanski was convicted and MJ hasn’t been. That doesn’t mean that I have to like him.

Despite what Polanski did he’s appeared to have lived a rather normal life since then. I haven’t heard any stories to indicate that he’s living a life completely divorced from reality or that he’s raping other girls.

We can’t say the same of Jackson. Even before 1993 he was a pretty strange bird but even without the accusations of molestation he’s grown into quite a freaky fella. So we’ve got a man who has mutilated himself, has been accused of molestation in the past, recently admitted to sleeping in the same bed as children, and seems totally divorced from reality (ie. racist making his record sales low).

Polanski doesn’t strike me as a nut. Jackson does.


What if Manson had never been caught, and was running around making hit songs? That wouldn’t outrage you pretty bad?

Clearly, being able to construct and live in his own fantasy world, with advisors and friends who would do nothing but agree with everything he wanted, was not healthy.

But what’s really chilling is that if he really is guilty, then in retrospect his pathology: being like a child himself, of babying them with money and gifts and playtoys, serving them hot chocolate in bed bya crackling fire, sleeping in the same bed like a sleepover, is so remarkably identifiable as the fantasy of many many pedophiles. A huge slice of pedophiles build these fantasy scenarios that involve elaborate fantasies of childhood and use particular lures to ensare the child. They just rarely have the money or the unsupervised access to live out those fantasies quite as lavishly and completely as MJ would have been able to.

Doesn’t Polanski acknowledge and publically regret what he did as well? That would certainly make a difference as well.

I think a far more significant difference is that for Polanski it was (as far as I know) a one time thing, while Jackson is percieved by many as having done it many, many times over the course of many, many years.

Another significant difference is that Polanski has already been convicted of, and apologized for, his crime (not that that makes me like him any better), while Jackson has not been convicted and still has many mainstream celebrities and musicians preaching about his innocence.

Yet another difference is that Jackson is much higher profile than Polanski. He has been a regular at MTV music award shows, despite (or because of?) the molestation controversy.

And one more difference is that Polanski creates art which many believe to be exceptional, possibly even redeeming (I don’t), while Jackson is far from the height of his ability.

Jackson is also widely regarded as a freak, and while villifying him is more popular now, it was already quite common before this particular incident. It didn’t come out of the blue. Polanski has nowhere near the history of incidents that Jackson has.
The gender of the victim is way, way, way down the list of significant differences.

Girls mature faster than boys, and 12 or 13 is right about the age when many girls become sexually attractive to normal men. There are certainly girls who are that age that look, well, “all grown up.” That isn’t meant to justify RP’s actions, but just a general reason why one might by seen as a mere lechery and repulsive behavior and the other seen as a pedophile, especially because in MJ’s case, 12 or 13 seems to be his “upper limit,” which isn’t the case for RP.

Several factors:

  1. Polanski’s victim has publicly stated that she doesn’t want to see him punished for the statutory rape charge.

  2. Some folks are willing to separate adulation for the work with (dis)respect for the creator. Even if Michael Jackson is ultimately tried and convicted, it won’t change the quality of his earlier singing and dancing performances.

  3. Polanski’s situation appears to be a one-time incident.

  4. Polanski has been keeping a low profile for several decades, allowing the outrage to blow over.

IIRC, the Polanski thing happened a year or so after his wife was murdered, and people had been seeing him as a victim at the time. I’d imagine that got him some sympathy at the time.

If we’re talking about how other celebs have reacted, I think the biggest things are that 1) Polanski goes to the hip parties and 2) Jacko hasn’t had a hit in 10 years.

If he had a top-ten album out right now, with a lot of fans who wanted him innocent, celebrity friends would be falling all over themselves to tell us what a great guy he is. As it is, most people think he’s guilty and a freak, so now they’ll all go on TV and say how they never really liked him…

Polanski is a scumbag who took advantage of a 13 year old girl after he coaxed her into getting naked for his photographic fancies/perversions/ artful-expressions. That’s all on the record - he was ready to plead guilty to some level of sexual misconduct with some slight jail time involved.

Then the DA renegged on the plea agreement and wanted to push for many felonies with upwards of 60 years. That was wrong and unethical on the DA’s part; Polanski rightly felt he was being railroaded and he fled the country.

Jackson stayed out of the country when the previous charges (1992-1993?) were being filed. He only returned once the $20 Million pay-off was arranged.

Polanski was convicted in absentia and faces significant jail time should he wander into Ashcroft-territory.

Dunno about ‘double standards’ - but the Santa Barbara DA ought to be fired either now, for his flippant attitude at the press conference, or when it becomes clear he has no evidence.

Diogenes it sounds like the crux of your question, regardless of the individual circumstances in each of these cases, is whether or not their is a bias against homosexual vs. heterosexual pedophilia. I believe the answer to that is “yes” but I believe the “bias” is warranted. A fundamental concept in laws regarding statutory rape/pedophilia is that the victim presumably isn’t of sufficient mental maturity ot be able to resist coercion. In the case of homosexual pedophilia, there is a greater likelihood (just going by the numbers) that the victim wouldn’t have made this “choice” had they been of age. At least this is the perception that the general public probably holds.

Perhaps I am undereducated, here, but I am not aware that there WAS any double standard between the two cases.

Michael Jackson is accused of molesting a minor. Roman Polanski is accused of molesting a minor.

Sure, there are differences in the individual cases, but did Polanski get amnesty, or something? Last I heard, he was still hiding out in Europe to avoid an all-American jail.