UPDATE: I posted this quickly and without reading up on the case at all. Commenters provide interesting, though horrifying, links. I think we now have very good evidence that the rape wasn’t “merely” statutory and that drugs and alcohol were given to the girl. Although Anne Applebaum reminds us that Polanski too has suffered mightily, so really, who’s to judge? Original post below.

Not sure what to make of this. Sure, he’s an old man who makes films, and there seemed to be an implicit agreement not to arrest him. Also, alleged procedural weirdness involving the plea deal. Justice: cut it with mercy! On the other hand, sex with a 13 year old involving (allegedly) alcohol and a quaalude. Ick, and the laws against that don’t have an artist exemption. The weird reactions give me the creeps, frankly.

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said he was “stunned” by the news, adding that both he and French President Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to see the acclaimed director returned swiftly to his family….”(Mitterrand) profoundly regrets that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already known so many during his life,” the culture ministry said in a statement….Robert Harris, a British novelist who said he had been working with Polanski for much of the past three years writing two screenplays, expressed outrage over the arrest….”I am shocked that any man of 76, whether distinguished or not, should have been treated in such a fashion,” he said in a statement, adding that Polanski had often visited Switzerland and even had a house in Gstaad….”It is hard not to believe that this heavy-handed action must be in some way politically motivated,” he said.

Even a house in Gstaad! Hard not to see this as the “he’s one of us” defense.