Roman Polanski and the Ryan Report
Deaglán de Bréadún
Somebody please explain what is the difference between Roman Polanski and the sex abusers, clerical and otherwise, who have been the subject of the Ryan Report as well as innumerable court cases and other investigations in this country and elsewhere over recent years?
Roman Polanski: under arrest
There is no doubt the man has talent. Many have admired various movies he has made and, of course, he won an Oscar for The Pianist.
Does that excuse his admitted paedophile act with a 13-year-old? It was a long time ago, but so were many of the cases we read about in the newspaper every other day.
The past has finally caught up with him and he has been arrested in Zurich on an extradition warrant. And the great and the good are out in force to call for his release.
So let me get this right: surely these people are not saying that, if you are deemed to have artistic talent, you can do or say what you like? Surely they would not suggest that the mistake all those Christian Brothers and child-molesting priests made was, they didn’t have a exhibition of their wistful landscape paintings in the School Hall?
And while I’m at it, what about Tommy Tiernan who spewed out a volley of anti-Semitic so-called “humour” in recent weeks. There is, of course, a world of difference between actions and words and the remarks of the comedian, however offensive, cannot be equated with what Polanski did and there is no suggestion here to that effect.
Tiernan is undoubtedly talented but does that excuse his foray into the sphere that brought us the Nazis, the Holocaust and previous centuries of anti-Jewish persecution?
Yet it seems Mr Tiernan has his defenders, quite a few of them, because he is considered a talented stand-up comedian. If he had launched a similar tirade about, say, Palestinians or gay people or women, it is a safe bet that his shows would be picketed and you would probably not see him on TV for a few months if not years. But the Jews are not fashionable: they never were, it seems.
Tommy Tiernan should apologise: he is letting down the good name of this country. On his website (click here) he says he is “greatly upset” by the reaction to his rant which was taken “out of context”. But he doesn’t apologise. Proud man, our Tommy.
He should consider the Jewish people and others who are equally, if not more, upset by this epsiode which contributes to the restoration – whatever his protestations and professed intentions - of the vile cancer of anti-Semitism to contemporary discourse among impressionable young people. At this time of economic crisis it is particularly dangerous and disturbing. He basically seeks what used to be called a “fool’s pardon” because he was in comic mode but it’s too serious for that.