Quentin Tarantino has been under fire since the publication of an interview with A-list star Uma Thurman in which she alleges that the director knew about alleged serial sexual assaulter Harvey Weinstein’s behavior and he forced her to do her own dangerous stunt on the film “Kill Bill.”
In October of last year, Tarantino admitted to having knowledge of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct. “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,” he told The New York Times. He has since given a lengthy interview explaining his side of the stunt allegation and his role in Weinstein’s alleged assault of the “Kill Bill” star.
With his name back in the spotlight, his past statements surrounding sexual assault are being reexamined. During a 2003 interview with shock jock Howard Stern, for example, Tarantino disturbingly downplayed the heinous actions of convicted rapist Roman Polanski, saying the 13-year-old victim who was drugged and raped “wanted to have it.”
Stern brought up Polanski, asking why Hollywood elites defend and embrace “this mad man, this director who raped a 13-year-old.”
“He didn’t rape a 13-year-old. It was statutory rape,” said Tarantino, “he had sex with a minor. That’s not rape. To me, when you use the word rape, you’re talking about violent, throwing them down—it’s like one of the most violent crimes in the world. You can’t throw the word rape around. It’s like throwing the word ‘racist’ around. It doesn’t apply to everything people use it for.”
Co-host Robin Quivers chimed in to remind the director that the girl was given quaaludes and alcohol before Polanski had sex with her. Here’s the horrifying transcript, via Jezebel:
Tarantino: No, that was not the case AT ALL. She wanted to have it and dated the guy and—
Quivers: She was 13!
Tarantino: And by the way, we’re talking about America’s morals, not talking about the morals in Europe and everything.
Stern: Wait a minute. If you have sex with a 13-year-old girl and you’re a grown man, you know that that’s wrong.
Quivers: …giving her booze and pills…
Tarantino: Look, she was down with this.
Tarantino is not alone in his embrace of Polanski. Meryl Streep, for example, who’s ironically a prominent figure in the anti-sexual assault #MeToo movement, gave Polanski a standing ovation at the 2003 Academy Awards. Additionally, feminist Natalie Portman signed a petition asking for Polanski to be pardoned for his grave offense. She, too, is a proud #MeToo and Time’s Up supporter.