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WMC Statement on Media Coverage of Polanski Case

September 30, 2009

The Women’s Media Center (WMC) calls on the media to focus their coverage of Roman Polanski’s recent arrest where it belongs: on the crime he committed, the rape of a child. Originally indicted in 1977 on six felony counts, including rape and child molesting, Polanski and his attorneys reached a deal in which he pled guilty to having “unlawful sexual intercourse” with a 13 year old girl. He fled the country when it was reported that the judge in the case was going to give him more time than the 42 days served which had been agreed to in the plea bargain. Because the Grand Jury minutes are unsealed and publicly available, there is ample information for anyone wishing to investigate the facts. Despite this, numerous mainstream media outlets have chosen to depict the Polanski case as somewhat unresolved, hinging on a “murky” issue of consent. These outlets represent the case as clouded by the victim’s forgiveness, prosecutorial misconduct, the family’s alleged opportunism, and other elements of the story which have no bearing on the key fact that the case is about the rape of a child. Too often, the media is complicit in misrepresenting or silencing the victims of sexual assault. The Women’s Media Center calls on the media to report the unfolding story of the Polanski arrest and possible extradition with clarity and specificity. The rape of a child is at the heart of the case. That is not disputed, and should not be represented as subjective. Carol Jenkins, President, Women’s Media Center **This statement is endorsed and supported by the members of Women, Action and The Media**