Tag Archives: age of consent

Child rapist Roman Polanski dragged me into a fight with Michael Winner

Yesterday, my comedy chum Janey Godley got into a fight with Michael Winner on Twitter. Or perhaps I should say…

Yesterday, my comedy chum @JaneyGodley got into a fight with @MrMichaelWinner on Twitter.

(We live in a strange world.)

A few years ago, I sat in a garage in Kensington with Michael Winner, former movie producer turned TV insurance salesman.

He was being interviewed for a documentary about iconic British gangster ‘Mad’ Frank Fraser.

Michael Winner (not unreasonably) did not allow the film crew into his no doubt very lovely house. If he was to be interviewed at home, it had to be in his garage.

When he was making movies, he had a fearsome film industry reputation for being polite to the stars of his eclectic movies like Death Wish – he reportedly always called Charles Bronson “Mr Bronson” on set – but a reputation for treating underlings with a lot less deference. Basically treating underlings like an eagle treats lambs.

I am always interested to meet people with bad reputations, because they tend to be misunderstood pussy cats in reality. I had read a bizarre interview with Michael Winner a few years before that garage interview in which he said that, when he went to parties on his own, he was sometimes almost too shy to go into a room full of strangers.

I do not think he was joking.

On the day of the garage filming, Mr Winner did not charge a vast fee, but he charged a reasonable fee and insisted it be paid to him in cash and (if memory serves) in advance. Fair enough.

He was value for money. He produced vivid answers filled with sound bites. A real pro. But he was very prickly. My cheap psychology would say he was defensively sarcastic; he put up a surprisingly defensive wall for someone so successful.

He also appears to misjudge people because, as I say, he got into a fight with Janey Godley on Twitter yesterday.

Janey is not someone to annoy. She can set cornfields on fire with just her stare. The barbs on her tongue can rip people’s throats out at 50 yards. And one subject you must never broach is child rapist and criminal fugitive Roman Polanski.

In this case, I agree with her.

On any subjects where I disagree with her, I keep schtum. I want to retain my throat.

The interesting thing about Michael Winner is that he claims – note I say “claims” – to be a staunch upholder of law and order. Yesterday, he undermined that claim. He Tweeted about the Roman Polanski case – in which Polanski drugged, raped and buggered a 13 year-old girl then fled the US to avoid imprisonment. He (Michael Winner) said:

the case was a thousand yrs ago and. Should not have been brought

He then tweeted:

it was not agaiinst her will she was no virgin and has since said many timesRoman should not be prosecuted

Which, when I read it, certainly took me aback.

Michael Winner is a friend and great supporter of the Metropolitan Police.

The reason the Age of Consent is called “the Age of Consent” is because, below that age, children cannot legally give their consent. The fact that a 5 year-old or a 13 year-old (especially a drugged 13 year-old) does not refuse to have sex does not make it less of a crime and – hey! – the age of consent in California is 18… So Roman Polanski mistook a 13 year-old for an 18 year-old and thought it was OK to drug, rape and bugger her? And his showbiz friends say: “Oh, it was a long time ago and he made some good movies so should be above the law”?

Gimme a break.

Let’s call bullshit bullshit.

Yesterday, Michael Winner tweeted:

y not talk about romans masterful direction of some the finest movies ever not some trumped up nonsense

Janey Godley’s reaction was:

totally pity poor Gary Glitter just didnt have a good enough back catalogue (joke by Dave Johns)

Michael Winner tweeted:

I lived in hollywood full of underage girls who looked older putting themselves about

Janey Godley tweeted:

am sorry I didnt know the 13yr old girl Polanski raped wasnt a virgin…well that’ll teach the sexy whore wont it?

how is raping a 13yr old different from other paedos?

my uncle also has his defenders but he raped me

as a child rape survivor and campaigner for childrens rights I am researching if you support any kids charities

and

you say Polanski case was a thousand years ago and should be forgotten well Holocaust and Sharon tate murder? let we forget

Janey makes a good point. Presumably, if one of the ‘reasons’ used to argue Polanski should not be imprisoned (if he is ever caught and/or stops running from justice) is that “it happened a long time ago”, then we can soon expect dear Roman to start campaigning for the release from prison of Charles Manson.

Somewhere in the Twitter mêlée yesterday, Janey brought up a blog I wrote in May headlined Why Roman Polanski’s Glamorous Rape Excusing Friends Should Be Ashamed.

Michael Winner’s reaction was:

Gosh Jane no one has ever called me glamourous

Note the mis-spelling.

The Twitter spat lasted all day.

@martinmchendry tweeted:
I’m actually stunned at this. How can you defend the indefensible?

@mimetska:
I couldn’t agree more. What if his daughter was the one? Only this man’s fame has insulated him from justice. He’d be singing a different tune if it were some other pedophile off the streets.

@Knightyjr:
it does make me wonder why @MrMichaelWinner is defending him. Do you have anything to confess Michael? Was everyone doing it? Is anyone reporting on this? I mean @MrMichaelWinner is advocating rape and child abuse for fucks sake

Janey tweeted:

if he were advocating a riot he would be jailed but not for saying ok to rape 13yr old

Michael Winner told her:

I actually believe in capital punishment for paedophiles the Polanski case is somewhat different

…although there was no explanation of why a major millionaire film director drugging, raping and buggering a 13 year-old girl at Jack Nicholson’s house should be viewed or treated any differently from some scabby psycho raping any other 13 year-old in an alleyway.

Michael Winner eventually tweeted to Janey:

I greatly admire the energy+ persistence with which you present your views Twitter does not give space for all I’d like to say

and, after several people had wondered if @MrMichaelWinner could really be the real Michael Winner given the occasional mis-spellings and bad grammar in his Tweets and his cavalier disrespect for the law (yes, it really is him), he tweeted to Janey:

it really is me jane proof on sun jan 8 my s times col is about Downtown restr Not even s times knows that yet This sun Genova

yes jane it is me and I wish you well and a great new year even tho we seem tohave different views 0 wrong with that LUV MW

I know being appalled and sorry is not enough jane but I wish you well

As Janey says:

If anyone in TV or press really fancies a proper ‘reality’ debate get me and Mr Calm down dear its just kiddie rape @mrmichaelwinner together

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The Prime Minister, sex, sleaze, prostitutes and Boris Johnson

A friend of mine – an Englishman in Italy – used to work for a large international conglomerate and, in the 1990s, once had to take a briefcase stuffed with cash to Rome Airport and hand it over to a civil servant. Everyone accepted that was how the wheels were greased. That was how the Italian state worked.

I also used to know someone involved with an Italian TV show which had to employ a girlfriend of now-deceased Prime Minister Bettino Craxi on their series. In fact, that underestimates her role: she actually arranged orgies for Prime Minister Craxi. My chum thought, “Ooh, now there’s a big secret I know about!” But then he discovered everyone knew about the supposed ‘scandal’ and it was almost routinely printed in Italian newspapers and magazines; everyone just accepted it. That was how the Italian state worked.

So I am a tad surprised as well as being in moral confusion about the current Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s problems.

He is immensely entertaining, which is always a bonus in my eyes. A bit like London’s current mayor Boris Johnson but with dyed hair. My heart takes flight when I hear any news item about either Boris or Silvio. I just know it’s going to be knockabout laugh-a-minute stuff.

But now Silvio is accused of having sex with an under-aged prostitute. This is not good. He faces a court case and a potential 15 years in prison. This is definitely not good.

The age of consent in Italy is generally 14, though 13-year-olds can legally have sex with partners who are less than three years older. This seems much too low to me but, if that is the law in Italy, then that is what good Italians Catholics have decided is morally acceptable. As I understand it, the girl involved in the Berlusconi case was 17 when the alleged sex took place and, while prostitution is legal in Italy – just as it is in the UK – it is illegal in Italy for a man to have sex with a prostitute under 18.

So the girl involved was three years over the general age of consent but one year under the legal age for sexual consent as a prostitute. This seems a very complicated moral quagmire within Italy, though I can see why sex with a prostitute under 18 is proscribed.

However, both Silvio and the girl totally deny sex took place. If they both deny it, then quite how evidence can be presented that it did take place I don’t know. There was a payment of £6,000 but apparently well after the alleged sex allegedly happened and Silvio and the girl both claim the payment was connected to something totally different. He also got her released from police custody in a separate incident, but that is more abuse of power than directly relevant the sex charges. It’s all a bit murky but sounds too circumstantial for a prosecution.

They could be lying through their teeth, of course, though I’m not sure why a young prostitute would not admit sex took place if she is going to become rich on selling the whole story to the media.

There is also the question in my mind of why on earth Silvio Berlsconi would have to pay for sex with a girl. Call me cynical, but the man is a billionaire, he owns a string of high-profile populist TV stations so he can get anyone he wants onto TV and he is the most powerful politician in the country! Any one of those three facts, in my experience, would mean lithe young nymphettes would be throwing themselves at him for free every day! The casting couch stretches beyond the movie business.

Heavens! Nymphettes throw themselves at impoverished comedians in dodgy basement clubs on a nightly basis let alone powerful billionaires who can get them on several national television series.

BBC News reported that Silvio Berlusconi reckons he has been in court over 2,500 times during various cases over the years. He has been accused of tax fraud, corruption, infidelity, Mafia involvement, you name it. I’m surprised he hasn’t been accused of illegally importing birds’ eggs. At least once he was accused of paying bribes on behalf of his companies at a time when no large company in Italy could operate without paying bribes. It struck me as a purely politically-motivated prosecution. That was/is how the Italian state worked/works.

Last year he was accused of being a member of an alleged secret organisation allegedly called P3 – a revival, it was said, of the infamous Masonic lodge P2 – Propaganda Due which existed from 1946 to at least 1981 and of which Silvio really was a member.

I have no idea if he is guilty or innocent of the current charges. He is certainly not an innocent man in general. And Italy – run by P2 and the Mafia from the end of the Second World War to perhaps the mid-70s – is most certainly not an innocent country.

P2 comprised prominent politicians, industrialists, bankers, journalists and military leaders, the heads of all three Italian intelligence services and even the pretender to the Italian throne. In 1977, P2 took over the influential Corriere della Sera newspaper; it was rumoured to be involved in the 1982 killing of ‘God’s banker’ Roberto Calvi, who was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in London, and it even had rumoured links to the 1980 bombing of Bologna railway station and the 1978 killing of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro by the heavily-infiltrated Red Brigades (allegedly because he had started to talk about NATO’s secret Gladio network).

It feels to me that Silvio is being stitched-up at the moment. He may very well be a reprehensible, ageing sleazeball, but this is a case where every fact seems to swirl in very muddied waters indeed.

It is not as if Silvio Berlusconi was running a prostitution racket, is it…

Is it?

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