How about the female co-workers (subordinates) with whom Letterman had sex?
How about the 13 year-old child raped by Polanski 30 years ago?
The annals of bad behavior by famous men defy complete cataloguing. Seems that no amount of potential shame, harm to careers and families, or potential legal liabilities can offset their uncontrolled passions — or abuses of power. Recent sex scandals have displayed an even more insidious side to the abuse of power — the claim of victimization on the part of the men who get caught playing around.
Yes, the producer who allegedly tried to extort money from Letterman in exchange for silence on his affairs is also reprehensible. What he coulda/shoulda done was report Letterman’s misconduct to the CBS Office of Human Resources or the EEOC that investigates sexual harassment. There were many things that guy could have done legally; extortion is a crime.
But the fact that Letterman’s secret was exposed via blackmail does not make his actions with his female subordinates any more acceptable. Even if the relationships were consensual, the spectre of sexual harassment is clear — to say nothing of the shame (now, there’s a concept!) that this kind of revelation brings upon the Letterman family and co-workers. The number of victims in this story is unknown, but certainly far more than one powerful entertainment figure.
Speaking of entertainment figures, I’m having an equally hard time working up sympathy for Roman Polanski, the movie director who’s been on the lam for three decades after admitting to raping a 13 year old child in Los Angeles. After working out a plea deal in 1978, Polanski skipped bail and fled to Europe where he has lived quite well for 30 years; he was arrested last week in Switzerland to the anguished outcry of his “fans” who complain that the Swiss police somehow betrayed a good fellow. Seriously. He admitted the rape. The fact that the now-43-year-old victim forgives him does not change the crime. Do the crime, do the time. Isn’t that what other people who are not so powerful have to face every day?
Really, though, what’s wrong with these guys?
Read Eugene Robinson’s excellent commentary on the Polanski case in today’s Washington Post
What do you think? Comments can now be posted on this blog, click the link below and leave your comments. No profanity, please.
Follow me on Twitter @TRINITYPREZ