In the year 2018 cartoon characters can no longer have accents and all sex is indeed rape, so it’s nice to hop on the PC time machine every once in a while to remember that shit that came out of celebs’ mouths in the good ol’ days when kid sex was cute and Gwyneth Paltrow considered herself business savvy (versus a victim) for exchanging getting dicked by Harvey Weinstein for a career. Allegedly. This weekend I rewatched The Reader for the first time since its release in 2008, and as soon as I relived Winslet’s old Nazi hag seducing David Kross’s fifteen-year-old boy, I hit the web looking for late 2000’s context because I obviously have a rich and fulfilling home life.
I assumed that statutory rape was the tentpole of The Reader, and never really categorized the flick as a romance. The same, however, cannot be said for Winslet. During a sit down with Comingsoon in 2008, Winslet blew up after the interviewer suggested that statutory rape was involved in the sexual relationship between an old woman and a fifteen-year-old. The Nazi doth protest too much?:
I’m so sorry, ‘statutory rape’? I’ve got to tell you, I’m so offended by that. No, I really am. I genuinely am. To me, that is absolutely not this story at all. That boy knows exactly what he’s doing. For a start, Hanna Schmitz thinks that he’s 17, not 15, you know? She’s not doing anything wrong. They enter that relationship on absolutely equal footing.
Statutory rape – really please, don’t use that phrase. I do genuinely find it offensive, actually. This is a beautiful and very genuine love story and that is always how I saw it. I was very moved by how much these two people came to mean to each other.
You know, this is a boy’s first experience of intimacy in that way, and love in that way, and understanding of what love is and can mean, and how deeply it affects the rest of his life because he loved that women. She wasn’t cruel to him. She didn’t force him into anything at all. There’s nothing I believe to be remotely inappropriate or salacious about that relationship.
Everyone take mental note of “There’s nothing I believe to be remotely inappropriate” and “She didn’t force him into anything at all.” He wanted it. I don’t care if Winslet is having sex with a fifteen-year-old at this very moment, but I do care that in 2017, Kevin Spacey’s prior sexual relationship with a fourteen-year-old was categorized undeniably as statutory rape. And I kind of care that The Reader was produced by Harvey Weinstein.
The point of this (what I’m realizing might be stupid) post isn’t that Nazis shouldn’t have sex with teenagers. It’s more a benchmark of where political correctness was just ten years ago. People have been lampooning Woody Allen for his on-screen relationship with a seventeen-year-old in Manhattan following his recent ostracization from Hollywood. The Reader – at least with its sexually-explicit R-rating – would NEVER get produced now, and while Winslet still seems cool enough and has only released a vague apology for working with industry rapists, she would NEVER say in 2018 that sex with a kid is romantic. Remember. Before #MeToo there was #HeWantedIt.
Photo Credit: Mr. Skin / Splash News / Backgrid USA