It broke my heart when I read that Emma Thompson signed the petition to get Roman Polanski out of jail. I could not believe that she of all people, a woman who has dedicated herself to bringing attention to the epidemic of human trafficking, would sign a petition to get a rapist out of jail. The good folks at Shakespeare’s Sister were also mortified and have been following the issue. One reader, Caitlin Hayward-Tapp a student at Exeter University in England put together a petition asking Emma Thompson to remove her name and got over 400 people to sign.
Caitlin was able to present the petition to Thompson at a recent event and got a very interesting answer as to why she signed it in the first place (This comes straight from Shakesville):
she [Emma Thompson] explained about how well she knows Polanski, how terrible his life has been, and how forgiving the survivor of the rape all those years ago now is. She said she thought the intentions of the judge were unclear, as were the intentions of those who arrested him recently. She told me that a lot of her friends had rung her up asking her to sign the petition, so there had been a certain amount of pressure. (My bold) She said that she had already been thinking a lot about the petition, as others had expressed their dismay at her signing it.
A certain amount of pressure. I bet.
She said, while she supported Polanski as a friend, a crime is a crime. I don’t know whether she had realised the extent of Polanski’s crime, but she is now fully aware. She will remove her name from the petition – in fact, she said she would call today and sort it out. Even though, she stressed, Polanski has had some truly terrible experiences in his lifetime, experiences that we couldn’t even imagine and which should not be taken out of the equation, she agreed that she could not put her name to a petition asking for his release.
Here’s a message Emma wanted to pass along:
“Know that I will remove my name because of you, and all of the good work that you have been doing. I have read your petition. I have heard you. And I will listen.”
I am so glad that Emma is removing her name. She does such good work of human trafficking and will be in NYC next week with the installation Journey which highlights this blight that nobody seems to give a shit about. Here are some details on the event.
Journey opens to the public on Washington Place, off Washington Square Park.
Hours of Operation are:
Tuesday, November 10 – Friday, November 13 12pm-8pm
Saturday, November 14 11am-7pm
Sunday, November 15 10am-3pm.
Produced in partnership with the City of New York and the City of London. Here’s the press release.
Let’s organize a group to go and see the installation.
Emma Update (Shakesville)