Last week I bitched to the New York Times Public Editor about a Roman Polanski profile that used what I felt was offensive and misleading language to depict both Polanski’s sex crime and his teenage victim.
Today I received an answer. I can’t run it here without permission, which I think I’d be unlikely to get, so suffice it to say that Clark Hoyt, the Public Editor, agreed completely–and in detail–with my assertion that Polanski’s crime was child rape and not “seduction” and that “seduction” was a very poor word choice. Hoyt disagreed with me that the depiction of the victim as “quarry” was dehumanizing, saying that it was meant to convey the fear of someone being victimized by a predator, i.e. Polanski. Make of that what you will.
He also agreed to forward my letter to the Culture Editor, who oversaw the writing and editing of the Polanski profile.
Overall, I was pleased with how quickly he responded, and how long and thoughtful the response was. It was clear that he took my concerns seriously, and made me glad I took the time to write the letter instead of just seething.