I have just returned from meeting Emma Thompson. While I would love to dwell on the experience – how friendly she is, how compassionate and how incredibly driven she is, there is a more important issue I need to address.
I took Emma the petition I had drawn up about Roman Polanski, with the 410 signatures and everyone’s comments. Any comments that I was aware of that didn’t show up on the petition, I took as a separate document. I also took the wording of the petition she had signed, and information about another petition (to be found here) which has over 3,000 signatures supporting Polanski’s arrest. (For anyone who doesn’t know about Roman Polanski, all of the information is in the petition I’ve linked to above)
Emma did not have much time between meetings, but she gave me all of the time that she had. I asked her why she had signed the petition, and she 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. She said that she had already been thinking a lot about the petition, as others had expressed their dismay at her signing it.
I handed her our petition and the comments. She read them both through thoroughly, and came back to me. 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.
Assuming that she will be true to her word, her name will be removed in the very near future. Hopefully the press will pick up on it.
She left me with this, to pass on to everyone who has signed the petition/raised awareness of this issue: “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 hope that this will encourage others to do the same, as I really do believe that many of those who have signed the Polanski petition did so not knowing what it was that they were signing.