Our Emma, the fierce fighter of sex trafficking, the advocate against fiddling with your face, the unapologetic smartie, the bawdy wit and the champion of always eating dessert. No, not our Emma.
And now, it seems it really will be no, not our Emma after all. The prodigiously talented Oscar winner has said she will remove her name from the petition. And we have the courageous work of Shakesville reader Caitlin to thank for her change of heart. You see, Caitlin, a student at Exeter University, knew she was going to have the opportunity to meet Emma at a campus event. So she set up a petition online, gathered 400-plus signatures of her own, and then took them to Emma to ask her to reconsider her signature on Roman Polanski petition.
And wouldn’t you know it, but Emma listened. As Caitlin wrote to Shakesville:
Emma did not have much time between meetings, but she gave me all of the time that she had. I asked her why she had signed the petition, and she explained about how well she knows Polanski, how terrible his life has been, and how forgiving the survivor of the rape all those years ago now is. She said she thought the intentions of the judge were unclear, as were the intentions of those who arrested him recently. She told me that a lot of her friends had rung her up asking her to sign the petition, so there had been a certain amount of pressure. She said that she had already been thinking a lot about the petition, as others had expressed their dismay at her signing it.
I handed her our petition and the comments. She read them both through thoroughly, and came back to me. She said, while she supported Polanski as a friend, a crime is a crime. I don't know whether she had realised the extent of Polanski's crime, but she is now fully aware. She will remove her name from the petition – in fact, she said she would call today and sort it out. Even though, she stressed, Polanski has had some truly terrible experiences in his lifetime, experiences that we couldn't even imagine and which should not be taken out of the equation, she agreed that she could not put her name to a petition asking for his release....
She left me with this, to pass on to everyone who has signed the petition/raised awareness of this issue: “Know that I will remove my name because of you, and all of the good work that you have been doing. I have read your petition. I have heard you. And I will listen.”
Never underestimate the power of one person to effect change. We forget this sometimes, amid a crushing sea of injustices. But sometimes all it really takes is one voice to pierce the darkness. Thank you, Caitlin. And thank you, Emma, for listening.
UPDATE: Emma is officially OFF THE PETITION. Broken hearts really can be mended. Recommence loving every inch of her great big magnificent brain...and other bits.