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
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.
I’m actually stunned at this. How can you defend the indefensible?
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.
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
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