Polanski Rape Victim Defends Director: ‘I Don’t See What’s So Feminist About Claiming Victimhood’

In a new interview between Samantha Geimer and the director’s wife Emmanuelle Seigner, Geimer said, "What happened with Polanski was never a big problem for me."
Roman Polanski Rape Victim Samantha Geimer Defends Director, pictured here in 2018.
Roman Polanski in 2018
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Samantha Geimer, whom Roman Polanski raped when she was 13 in Los Angeles, is once again reaffirming that the sexual assault was never an issue for her in a new interview with his wife, Emmanuelle Seigner.

In the interview conducted by Le Point, as translated by IndieWire, Geimer, who was 13 when Polanski gave her alcohol and pills and raped and sodomized her in the home of Jack Nicholson, said, “Let me be very clear: what happened with Polanski was never a big problem for me. I didn’t even know it was illegal, that someone could be arrested for it. I was fine, I’m still fine. The fact that we’ve made this thing up weighs on me terribly. To have to constantly repeat that it wasn’t a big deal, it’s a terrible burden.”

Geimer is among five other women who have accused Polanski of underage sexual abuse. The candid Le Point interview features a wide-ranging discussion on what Geimer and Seigner mutually feel is the futility of the #MeToo movement. (“The attorney Gloria Allred, for example, just diminishes women to exploit their pain. I’m sorry but that is no defense,” Geimer said.)

They also reminisce about the 1970s when “sex was recreational, sometimes transactional,” Geimer said.

Seigner said, “I remember the time when I was starting to work. I became a model at 14 years old. All the girls, the models, slept with the photographers and I was no exception. But sex was something normal, a natural aspect of life. There wasn’t all this drama, all this darkness surrounding sex.”

Echoing Seigner’s remarks that “feminine desire has been denied, annihilated,” Geimer added, “It’s sad for women but especially for young women. Imagine reaching adulthood in this era, it seems appalling to me. I don’t see what’s so feminist about claiming victimhood. Today, women’s pain is valued, and there’s a whole industry that exploits suffering. Those who participate in it don’t know what they’re stepping into. Me, I know because I’ve been around, I’ve seen loads of people approach me saying they have the best intentions in the world and going: ‘Come, speak, the world wants to know, they want to know the truth.’ Except the truth is that they only have their careers and their TV shows in mind.”

Geimer also speaks about feeling as if she was turned into a victim by the media and legal circus surrounding the sexual assault.

“I’m going to tell you something,” Geimer said. “If someone had something to say about Roman, about any mistreatment, 1977 would have been a really good year to help me. Because with my family, we couldn’t even leave our house anymore! Everyone was attacking us. No one came to stand by my side and say: ‘Hey, you know what? I think she’s telling the truth because something similar happened to me.’ It’s not like the story was private, it was in newspapers around the world! But no, no one, not one of the women who, today, claim to have had a problem with Roman, took the trouble to contact me. And now, now that they have an urgent need to unpack everything? Who are they kidding?”

She added, “People pretend to act in the name of justice, or because they support me, but it’s the antithesis of what I want and of all I say that I want. They think of themselves as morally superior, when they’re just taking the easy way out. The extradition attempt, the fact that Roman was arrested like that, it was so unfair and so in opposition to justice. Everyone should know by now that Roman has served his sentence. Which was… long, if you want my opinion. From my side, nobody wanted him to go to jail, but he did and it was enough. He paid his debt to society. There, end of story. He did everything that was asked of him until the situation went berserk he had no other choice but to flee. Anyone who thinks that he deserves to be in prison is wrong. It isn’t the case today and it wasn’t the case yesterday.”

Polanski reached a plea bargain in 1978 on the allegations of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor from Geimer, and fled to France before he could be arrested on further charges in the United States. A documentary revisiting the allegations titled “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” was released in 2008, which reignited Polanski’s legal battle to avoid extradition to the U.S.

He was later detained by the Swiss police in 2009, the same year that a petition from filmmakers including Woody Allen, Pedro Almodóvar, Wes Anderson, Darren Aronofsky, Alfonso Cuarón, Jonathan Demme, Terry Gilliam, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Wong Kar Waï, David Lynch, Michael Mann, Alexander Payne, Martin Scorsese, Paolo Sorrentino, and Olivier Assayas urged Polanski’s name to be cleared. A follow-up documentary, “Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out,” was released in 2013. Geimer was involved with both documentaries.

Geimer wrote a memoir in 2014 about her experience and received a handwritten apology from Polanski. During a 2018 interview with IndieWire’s Eric Kohn, Geimer called the encounter with Polanski a “rape” but acknowledged that the filmmaker took responsibility for his actions.

“He wrote me a handwritten letter and said, ‘I’m sorry, it was my fault, not your mom’s fault, and I’m sorry for what you went through.’ I was like, ‘Well, I knew that,'” Geimer said at the time. “I felt like he was sorry the minute he got arrested. My whole life, I assumed, of course he’s sorry. I didn’t feel like I needed that. But then when he sent that apology, I could tell it made a big difference to my mom, and my husband, some of my friends, and my kids. It gave my mom some kind of relief. It was really meaningful to the other people around me who care about me, which then made it really meaningful to me. Anything that can make my mom feel better is something I’m grateful for.”

Geimer’s Twitter profile also listed that she’s been “fighting losing battles since 1977,” the same year her accusations were made against Polanski.

Geimer also fought for Los Angeles courts to unseal Polanski’s 1978 testimony in July 2022. She wrote a letter to the district attorney’s office after years of asking for the case against Polanski to be dismissed and urged the office to “take a fresh look” at the allegations, via The Guardian.

Translation by Mona Palmer.

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