After Harvey Weinstein's long history of sexual harassment was revealed to the world, people were wondering what filmmakers close to the prolific Hollywood producer had to say about the scandal. One of the filmmakers in question is director Quentin Tarantino, who's had a long professional relationship and friendship with Weinstein ever since the producer acquired Tarantino's directorial debut Reservoir Dogs. When the Weinstein scandal was just breaking news, Tarantino stayed silent until he was able to collect his thoughts regarding the matter. Check out his initial statement below.
Now, Tarantino has broken his silence to share his thoughts on the matter. The Pulp Fiction director told The New York Times in an exclusive interview that he felt nothing but pain and regret following the Weinstein expose because he inadvertently enabled the producer's 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... 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.”
According to the filmmaker, he knew of Weinstein's actions before the recent bombshell report shook the filmmaking industry to its very core. Tarantino offered no excuses and apologized for his prior inaction, saying that it was impossible for anyone working in Hollywood to not know of the Weinstein horror stories.
"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 behind The Hateful Eight also revealed that some of the reported accounts were familiar to him, since they came from people he knew. Earlier, he heard that Planet Terror's Rose McGowan and his then-girlfriend Mira Sorvino were both victims of Weinstein. Sorvino even told Tarantino of her encounters with Weinstein, which the director tried to reason with at the time.
“I was shocked and appalled. 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... I chalked it up to a ’50s-’60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk. As if that’s O.K. That’s the egg on my face right now.”
Looking back, the director regrets his choice to do nothing, and is now looking to make things right. Tarantino ended his interview with a call to action, urging the men in Hollywood to stand up against a vile culture that male filmmakers "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.”
Similar to his friend Robert Rodriguez and indie-sensation Kevin Smith, Tarantino owes his career to Weinstein. All three filmmakers felt a sense of betrayal when Weinstein's dark history was made public, with Rodriguez describing Weinstein as "truly disgusting" while Smith pledged to donate the financial residuals from his Weinstein-produced projects to the nonprofit organization Women In Film.
The three have since distanced themselves from the producer, saying that their bodies of work and the prospect of losing future projects pales in comparison to the pain and suffering countless women endured thanks to one man. In particular, Smith gave an incredibly emotional response, showing determination to atone for his past connections with Weinstein.
"I just wanted to make some fucking movies, that's it. That's why I came, that's why I made 'Clerks.' And no fucking movie is worth all this. Like, my entire career, fuck it, take it. It's wrapped up in something really fucking horrible."
Tarantino called Weinstein several times following the expose's release, but as of this writing, the disgraced producer has yet to respond. The director believes that it's time for Weinstein to "face the music," and could offer no insight on the producer's actions despite their friendship.