Director Quentin Tarantino, arguably the finest talent that disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein catapulted to success in the 1990s, has finally opened up about Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment of women; surprisingly, the director confesses that he knew some of the producer's behavior and did not take any substantive action to stop it.
Speaking with The New York Times, Tarantino said he should have stepped in to help when he began to hear rumors about what his long-time friend was doing behind closed doors.
"I knew enough to do more than I did," he admitted. "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," he added. "If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him."
The majority of Hollywood's A-listers that worked with Weinstein, from Ben Affleck to Matt Damon to George Clooney, have denied knowing about his behavior, or at least the extent of his behavior. The credibility of their accounts was severely tested as more and more evidence and testimonies came forth revealing that Weinstein's behavior was not only an "open secret," but, as one screenwriter eloquently put it, "everybody-f***ing knew." Nobody took the credibility hit nearly as hard as actor Ben Affleck, who was immediately called a liar shortly after his denial by one of Weinstein's accusers, Rose McGowan.
Perhaps Quentin Tarantino's publicist cautioned him that total denial no longer was a wise move.
One reason why Tarantino could not possibly take the "I had no idea" route is because he dated actress Mira Sorvino, another one of Weinstein's accusers. According to Tarantino, Sorvino did warn him about Weinstein's unwelcome advances, which other actresses warned him about as well. Tarantino also knew that actress Rose McGowan had reached a settlement with the producer.
With so much knowledge, why did Tarantino work with the man for over 20 years?
"What I did was marginalize the incidents," he recalled. "Anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse."
Tarantino called out those who have denied ever knowing, saying, “Everyone who was close to Harvey had heard of at least one of those incidents. It was impossible they didn’t."
Back when he and Mira Sorvino dated, Tarantino thought Harvey had become too "infatuated with her" and "horribly crossed the line" as a result. After he thought the problem was resolved, Tarantino figured that Harvey would leave Sorvino alone, unaware that he was habitual in his abuse. More from The New York Times:
Over the years, he learned of other accounts. Another actress friend told him a troubling story of unwanted advances by Mr. Weinstein in a hotel room. Mr. Tarantino confronted Mr. Weinstein, who offered the woman what the director described as a weak apology. (She confirmed the account to The Times but declined to be identified.)
"I chalked it up to a ’50s-’60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk," Tarantino said. "As if that’s O.K. That’s the egg on my face right now."
Tarantino is now calling upon all industry insiders to create a better environment for women to liberate them from "an almost Jim Crow-like system that us males have almost tolerated."
Tarantino also wants other men to fess up about what they knew. "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."