After the numerous sexual harassment and assault allegations surfaced against Harvey Weinstein last week, many wondered how iconic filmmaker Quentin Tarantino would respond to these allegations, since Harvey Weinstein helped launch the director’s career by releasing his breakout hit Pulp Fiction. Actress Amber Tamblyn released a brief statement last week from Quentin Tarantino, stating he has been, “stunned and heartbroken” about everything that has come to light, and that he would need a few more days to process his pain before addressing it further.
Now the filmmaker is speaking out, revealing that he has known about The Weinstein Company co-founder’s sexual predatory behavior for several decades, saying he’s ashamed he didn’t take a stronger stand against Harvey Weinstein. Here’s what the director had to say in a new interview with The New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, one of the journalists who broke the original story.
“I knew enough to do more than I did. There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things. I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard. If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him.”
After the original New York Times report surfaced earlier this month, another report from the New York Post surfaced with even more damaging allegations, with three women claiming that Harvey Weinstein raped them, including actress Asia Argento, which helped open the floodgates as several actresses started coming forward on their own through social media and other reports. Quentin Tarantino’s interview also comes just after screenwriter Scott Rosenberg revealed in a lengthy Facebook post that “everyone” in Hollywood knew about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse.
As for Quentin Tarantino, he revealed that he was told about Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual advances from his own girlfriend at the time, Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino, who told the director about Harvey Weinstein’s “unwelcome advances and unwanted touching,” while another actress told him a similar story several years later, and he also knew that Rose McGowan reached a settlement with Harvey Weinstein. Still, even after hearing about these stories for years, he continued to work with Harvey Weinstein, which he now regrets. Here’s what the director had to say in part of his one-hour interview with Jodi Kantor, backing up Scott Rosenberg’s post by stating anyone who knew Harvey knew about these incidents that were told in the first two expose articles from the New York Times and New York Post.
“What I did was marginalize the incidents. Anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse. Everyone who was close to Harvey had heard of at least one of those incidents. It was impossible they didn’t.”
The director started dating Mira Sorvino in 1995, a year after his breakthrough film Pulp Fiction was released, but shortly before they started dating, she told the director that Harvey Weinstein started massaging her without asking, “chased her around a hotel room” and even showed up at her apartment in the middle of the night, which the actress recently shared with The New Yorker. The director said that he was “shocked and appalled” when she told him those stories.
“I was shocked and appalled (back then). I couldn’t believe he would do that so openly. I was like: ‘Really? Really?’ But the thing I thought then, at the time, was that he was particularly hung up on Mira. I thought Harvey was hung up on her in this Svengali kind of way. Because he was infatuated with her, he horribly crossed the line.”
The director added that he thought the problem was resolved since he was dating her, and he knew that Harvey wouldn’t “mess with her” while they were together. He chalked up Weinstein’s behavior to, “a ’50s-’60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk’, then saying, ‘As if that’s O.K. That’s the egg on my face right now.” He also issued a call to action, asking all of his male counterparts who knew about Harvey Weinstein’s decades of abuse, to speak out.
“We’re operating under an almost Jim Crow-like system that us males have almost tolerated. We allowed it to exist because that’s the way it was. I’m calling on the other guys who knew more to not be scared. Don’t just give out statements. Acknowledge that there was something rotten in Denmark. Vow to do better by our sisters. What was previously accepted is now untenable to anyone of a certain consciousness.”
The director added that he tried to call Harvey Weinstein several times after these allegations surfaced, but he never got a response, with the director adding that he needs to “face the music.” The former executive has already been fired by The Weinstein Company, and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Another longtime collaborator, Kevin Smith claims that he will donate any residuals from Harvey Weinstein films to a women’s filmmaking charity. As for Tarantino, it will be interesting to see if more of his colleagues and counterparts will start speaking out as well. You can visit The New York Times for the full piece on Quentin Tarantino.