July 21, 2005

Lapham says it again: Polanski vulgar, tasteless, and unoriginal . . .


Roman Polanski‘s suit against Vanity Fair (see Monday’s MobyLives news digest) continued in London yesterday with author and Harper’s Magazine editor Lewis Lapham admitting he made the comments that prompted the suit, and saying he stood by them. As Mike Collett-White reports in a Reuters wire story, Lapham said he was dining with a friend and his girlfriend, a Scandinavian model named Bette Telle, at Elaine’s restaurant in New York when Polanski appeared. According to Collett-White, Lapham testified, “Mr. Polanski pulled up a chair between myself and Beatte Telle and began to talk to her in a forward way … began to praise her beauty, romance her. At one point he had his hand on her leg and said to her ‘I can put you in the movies. I can make you the next Sharon Tate.'” Lapham said, “I was impressed by the remark, not only because it was tasteless and vulgar, but also because it was a cliche.” Telle’s then boyfriend, financier Edward Perlberg, said Telle told him a similar story afterwards. Said Perlberg, “I though this was generally creepy. I think the words that he was a twerp, or to that effect, were used.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives