To explain her behavior, which the probation report describes as perfect willingness, with a total absence of forcing or coercing from the part of the defendant – and to explain the behavior of her mother, that looks exactly like what we deduced here (a premeditated setup, theory corroborated by the development of the events), the three authors of the book have to undertake lots of clumsy manipulations. We’ll presently see, again, a whole assortment of lies.
Mom didn’t really have a long attention span when it came to men. She first married a local boy at seventeen when she was four months pregnant with my sister, Kim…
Barefaced lies. Anyone who can count can easily calculate. During the GJ interrogation, Susan Gailey (mother) is asked how old her elder daughter is, and she says 20. Susan was born in 1941. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find the exact dates of birth of either Susan or Kim (the elder daughter), but there’s no way she could be 17 when four months into pregnancy. To be
in March ’77, Kim has to have been born either in 1957
(25% probability) or in 1956 (75%), when Susan was, depending on her birth month, either 15 or 14. If you
look at the calendar, you can see that there is probability that Susan got pregnant when she was 13. There
is no indication in the book that she got pregnant from her first sexual
experience, or that it was a result of rape.
Why these lies, so easy to disprove? Of course, it’s all well calculated. The first line in the quoted passage seems so honest, so frank, like the author is saying the Whole Truth even at her own expense, - so personal and so straightforward! - that who on earth will count months and years?
And it’s not just an innocent lie. It’s the cornerstone of the precarious construction that follows.
Geimer (it feels like these pages were written by her rather than Newman or Silver) gives a description of what their life in Hollywood was like, with mother three times divorced by the age of thirty-two and now living with a boyfriend (Bob) working for Marijuana Weekly, with whom she was smoking pot “every night in their room”:
…It was like being on a permanent pot-infused vacation.
…I don’t think I can overstate the shift in attitudes toward sex in the mid- to late 1970s versus ten or even five years before. The Joy of Sex, published in 1972, held a place of honor in my mother’s bedroom. (…)Young girls are eroticized to some extent in every culture, and at this point in time in our own culture that eroticization had become almost mainstream.
…The bathrooms of junior high school were filled with cigarette smoke. When we visited the homes of our friends, their parents would offer us a beer. Cocaine was just beginning to become popular, but really, that wasn’t yet the drug for the kicked-back
vibe. Los Angeles
I can’t help seeing Silver kicking in at this moment. Notice the (…) in the quote above? The part I omitted is, “She never knew I read it, but naturally I did, cover to cover.” It is crucial that we be convinced: mother didn’t know. Mother had no idea of anything going on, even though she herself was pregnant at… mmm… let it be… "seventeen" (not 14 or, God forbid, 13! No, no!!).
Why? Because somehow we should be forced to close our eyes on what we’ve read in this very book, or known from other documents, and swallow this:
The story that would be repeated in the press for years was that my mother had, for lack of a better term, pimped me out – that she had set me up with Roman as a kind of bait, not only for my career but for hers.
In fact, as improbable as it now sounds, it never, ever crossed her mind that he would have sex with me. First, even though there were movies like Taxi Driver and
which featured a twelve-year-old prostitute and a forty-year-old man’s
relationship with a high school student, no one talked about real-life child
sex abuse. (…) And however “adult” I may have acted… I looked like a child. Manhattan
Then there was Roman’s fame. It protected him, but not just in the way people would assume. We wanted something from him – that would be people’s first thought. We did want something from him, too. But the idea that my mother looked the other way because of his fame – that’s what was false. See, because of his fame, she never for a second thought she would have to look the other way.
How much she “looked like a child” we already know. This lie alone relieves us of all responsibility to refute the others, because everything is built on it. But since we’ve already started this quest, let’s proceed.
Definition: Contextual lie. One can state part of the truth out of context, knowing that without complete information, it gives a false impression. Likewise, one can actually state accurate facts, yet deceive with them.
Can you find it in the quote above? Of course, it’s the first passage. Saying “the story that would be repeated in the press for years” (which, by the way, is itself an example of a big lie, since the press repeats a totally different story) she somehow tries to make it sound dubious by definition: because it is a “story”, because it is “repeated”, and because she herself quotes it. This contextual lie is meant to be propped by the above barefaced lie, all to lead us to believe that mother could never ever have had such an extravagant idea.
See now why she lied about the age of her mother when pregnant? They want us to unsee the picture formed by Samantha’s own words, by her maturity and experience, by the fact that her grandmother got pregnant with Susan when she too was way below the modern age of consent in the USA (she doesn’t say it, but plain calculations show it clearly), and the context of the ‘70s Samantha describes so vividly, mother’s three divorces and a Hollywood boyfriend, the “pot-infused” lifestyle… And even this is not all yet.
Before I ever became sexually active my mother had taken me aside and given me some sort of spermicidal cream, which I used the one time I had sex with Steve in
It was when Samantha was either twelve, or barely thirteen, because by March ’77 she had already broken up with her first lover. So… mother had no idea her daughter could have sex? Really? Oh, I forgot, “no one talked about real-life child sex abuse”. Thus, having sex with someone next door is ok, but having it with someone you “want something from” – and eventually get a lot from, in terms of both money and fame - is suddenly “abuse”? Excuse me, who abuses whom in this case? And, lo, forgot again: Polanski’s fame “protected” him. The famous womanizer whose best known lover at that very time was 15 (according to other sources, 16, although for some reason Geimer once says “
14”, apparently out of habit for
lying) and didn’t look a day older than Samantha – was “protected” by his fame
in the eyes of a Hollywood actress with such a past, an aspiring actress’s
mother? Tell it to the marines.
In fact, as improbable as it now sounds, it never, ever crossed her mind that he would have sex with me.
Recognize the trick? “as improbable as it now sounds” means to make you feel ashamed for ever thinking it “improbable”. Resist manipulations, guys. No use arguing “we don’t really know what did or didn’t cross Susan Gailey’s mind”: it would have been an open question only if Geimer and her two co-workers didn’t need to prop it with lies. Since they do, the whole picture they’re trying to paint is ruined.
But they don’t stop there. They forget that le meilleur est l’ennemi du bien, and, believing for some reason that everyone is gullible to the point of idiocy, say this:
My mother said [to the Grand Jury], “I thought he might want younger girls.”
Younger! This moment showed how her mind was really working. Somehow she had gotten the impression that he was photographing children. And she didn’t think for a second that he was a pedophile. Apparently he had been dating Nastassja Kinski, who was fifteen at the time, but my mother had no idea. His taste for young girls, news to us, would soon be widely publicized. But Kinski, however young, looked like a woman and I did not – and my mother simply did not put me into that category of nubile beauty who would have caught his attention. So it was the idea that I was too old for the shoot, not quite a child anymore, that was worrying her. That Polanski had a sexual interest in her daughter never occurred to her. Truthfully, until that night it had never occurred to me, either.
Now please remember the photos (and the verbal descriptions) and decide for yourself if a mother (whose own sex life started at no later than 14 and who had given her daughter spermicidal cream months before), could really believe that someone who intended to photograph children would pick that ripe young woman.
So much is inside that paragraph… Barefaced lie: “Kinski… looked like a woman and I did not”. False pretence: “but my mother had no idea” – living in
and her daughter Kim dating an acquaintance of Polanski’s. And don’t forget
they had seen the pictures he had taken of others, when he explained to them
what exactly he wanted. Hollywood
… there were these extraordinary images of an international beauty…
…he showed these photos of jaw-dropping beauties in Vogue – girls on beaches, in fields, dressed in backless evening gowns…
So, mother thought he intended to photograph children?
Definition: Economy with the truth is popularly used as a euphemism for deceit, whether by volunteering false information (i.e., lying) or by deliberately holding back relevant facts. More literally, it describes a careful use of facts so as not to reveal too much information, as in "speaking carefully".
The relevant fact that is deliberately held back in the book is that the magazine was Vogue Hommes. You’ll see Vogue mentioned a lot of times in the book, and not a single time will it be made known to you that it was Vogue Hommes. There are two main reasons to this: first, if it were mentioned, the mother’s suggestion that she wanted her daughter to pose as a “child” (she claims she was afraid Samantha looked too old, remember?) for a men’s magazine would seem dubious to say the least. Next, it would prevent her from further playing total innocence.
This play is elaborate and extremely interesting to analyze. Too bad it doesn’t hold water when confronted with elementary facts.
The Vogue lies will resurface, and be developed, in the crucial moment: the ballet around the topless photos.
The Gaileys’ description of this episode abounds in dramatic details (more abundant and more dramatic from year to year), whose main problem is that they can’t be glued together.
So, after the fatal encounter at Nicholson’s (we talked about it here, and will talk further, with the help of the new material, in the next chapter) Polanski, blissfully unaware that he’s just “raped a child”, brings Samantha home.
I flew into the house and into my room, but not before my mother got a good look at me. My eyes were glazed and the pupils huge; my hair was damp.
We’ll presently see that there could be no glazed eyes or huge pupils, but for the time being let’s accept this part. She runs into the house and only has time to whisper to mother that she told “him” she had asthma. Let it be so, too.
Polanski shows Susan, Kim and Bob the photos of the previous session, and, according to the Gaileys, all hell breaks loose, ending with
My mother felt the blood rising into her neck, choking her, her lips stretched thin.
“Get him out of here,” Mom rasped.
Polanski himself didn’t notice anything of the kind, other than that the attitude “wasn’t as friendly as it had been”: according to him, they liked the photos, and even smoked a joint together before he left. I am inclined to believe him because, unlike Samantha’s stories, all his accounts are always precise, consistent, never contradicting any known facts or documents, and altogether plausible; but even if we disregard my personal impression, the question arises: wouldn’t a man who is suddenly thrown out have stopped to ask what happened? Let’s give Mom the benefit of the doubt: maybe she “rasped” it inaudibly, like she does in the big show she puts on for Zenovich in Odd Man Out.
But the question remains: what was the cause of everybody’s indignation? It is described like a Greek tragedy, with everyone pulling their hair out and uttering incoherent condemnations.
The reason was one topless photo.
And before everyone turns their indignation on me, let me remind you that Mom Gailey had been informed of the Jacuzzi shots.
Now, how does that fit together? She was called from Nicholson’s residence, and Polanski told her they were going to make shots in the Jacuzzi. She didn’t ask any questions – just like previously she (presumably! It’s all according to their words only – and we know by now what their words are worth) had never ever asked her daughter about the character of the photos they had taken on the hill.
How are Geimer/Newman/Silver going to find a way out of this predicament?
They do not mention that Polanski told Susan about Jacuzzi. They just don’t. Economy with the truth, as you may have noticed - and at its worst.
He gets on the phone with my mother and tells her we’re at Jack Nicholson’s house up in
, not very far. It’s already dark,
but he’ll bring me home soon. Having reassured her, they hang up. Mulholland Canyon
And this omission alone could be enough for us to know that they are lying, and that they know why they have to lie.
But Silver is a lawyer, right? He knows that withholding crucial information may be frowned upon: Susan testified to the Grand Jury that Polanski had consulted her about the Jacuzzi shots. Thus, much later, and very inconspicuously, the authors do mention this, but in the context where all dramatic emphasis is placed elsewhere and no connection can be made with the other drama piece.
Or so they think. Because this book, with all its discrepancies and blatant lies is meant to be read by fools – fools they take you for.
And, having omitted one crucial fact, they hurry to seal this by re-omitting another:
At that point they knew nothing other than that he had taken topless pictures of me – but that, in itself, was enough of a reason for a freak-out. It wasn’t just the toplessness alone, though there was that. It was the deception. The betrayal of trust. In their minds Vogue meant two things: fashion and clothes. Lots and lots of clothes. The sheer badness of the photos made them realize something was wrong.
Remember that they had seen the pictures in Vogue Hommes, had known that it was Vogue Hommes – not just Vogue as the authors are trying to make us believe. And Susan had known that Samantha was posing naked in a bath – and had had at least a couple of hours to think about it.
All the while, and some time after this, Samantha is presumably alone in her room, with the only interruption from her mother when she (presumably) came in to inquire about the topless pictures.
Wait, what? Your daughter calls you from someone’s home and you learn from the man she’s with that she is going to pose naked in a bath. She comes back “eyes glazed, pupils huge”, whispers something incoherent and runs in; then you see her topless photos… and you sit around, talking about dogs (see Susan’s and Kim's testimonies – Samantha herself is deplorably brief about this part in her book) with the man she was with? Not in the least interested to find out whether anything happened? And you never ask her about anything till her boyfriend comes and her sister (presumably) overhears their conversation?
There’s no way to fit all of it together: the Vogue, the Jacuzzi, the huge pupils, the overreaction about the photos and the lack of interest towards the “glazed-eyed” daughter. No way except one: it just didn’t happen the way they are saying it did.
The only plausible picture is – but of course my readers can build it themselves? All the lies used by the authors have only one explanation: a wish to lie oneself out of the accusation of setup.