Redemption for People Who Have Been Canceled Is Not a Top Priority
It’s the consequences that perpetrators face and justice for the victims that should be the main focus.
For instance, people bemoan the loss of Louis C.K. without speaking of his victims. Comedians and fans alike speak often of his absence in the comedy world. But we need to put the focus back on the talented comedians that he scared away from the industry.
Louis C.K. effectively became a tastemaker in comedy in the 2000s. He has become a touchstone for many comedians, a comedian's comedian. With a successful TV show and many sold-out Madison Square Garden shows, C.K. was beloved by many. And fans, both famous and not, have bemoaned his absence from public life since public accusations of sexual misconduct around him surfaced in 2017. Much less attention has been devoted to his victims, despite the fact that C.K. has admitted the allegations are true. Five different women accused him of sexual misconduct, over a period of time that stretches back more than 15 years. Dana Min Goodman, Julia Wolov, Abby Schachner, and Rebecca Corry are just a few of the female comedians who alleged that C.K. masturbated in front of them. Most of the women were early in their careers, and some were so spooked by his behavior that they felt they did not have a place in the comedy world. “Because of this moment, as gross as it is, we feel compelled to speak," Goodman said. Many other women did not come forward for fear of professional reprisals.
Roman Polanski, too, is often defended as a great artist, ignoring his many victims who have come forward. Polanski's case shows the way that legal channels do not always dole out justice. Especially when victims are young women.
Roman Polanski's mug shot after he was arrested for rape of a minor. LAPD/Wikimedia Commons
In the 1970s, Polanski pleaded guilty to the rape of a girl who was just 13 years old. He fled the U.S. before sentencing, escaping judicial consequences. He has continued making films in France since. And he has even earned the highest prize that France gives for filmmaking, a César. Meanwhile, his victims have suffered emotional and psychological losses, and are rarely spoken of in the press. As recently as 2019, a sixth woman accused Polanski of rape. Valentine Monnier, a Parisian photographer says the filmmaker attacked her in a ski chalet when she was just 18 years old. "I weighed 50 kilos [110 pounds]," she said in an interview. "Polanski was small but muscular and at 42 was in the prime of his life. He got the upper hand in two minutes.” Monnier joins a group of women with allegations against Polanski: all of who were just teenagers when he allegedly raped them.