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Film

When Quentin Tarantino defended Roman Polanski in an interview with Howard Stern

In October 2017, when substantial allegations of sexual misconduct were reported against Harvey Weinstein by The New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, a cultural revolution was kickstarted that stood powerfully against sexual abuse in and out of the workplace. #MeToo would become the banner of the movement, determined to end sexual abuse and harassment through the publicising of allegations and crimes.

Hollywood recoiled in response, with film producers and actors having long been putting up with the bullish behaviour of the movie mogul. Speaking to podcaster Joe Rogan, the influential film director Quentin Tarantino stated that Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour towards women was “known by everybody”, before noting that he wished he had “done more” prior to the film producer’s conviction. 

Speaking on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Tarantino told Rogan that he wished he “had done more,” further adding, “I wish I had talked to the guy. I wish I had sat him down and had the uncomfortable conversation. I didn’t know about any rapes or anything like that… but I knew he was like, you know… I chalked it up to the boss chasing the secretary around the desk… you know, he was making unwanted advances”. 

Despite being against the actions of Weinstein, back in 2003, Tarantino spoke cack-handedly about the actions of fellow filmmaker Roman Polanski, who, in 1977 was convicted of sexual offences after raping 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. 

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“He didn’t rape a 13-year-old. It was statutory rape…he had sex with a minor. That’s not rape,” Tarantino shockingly stated in an interview with Howard Stern, later adding that she “wanted to have it…she was down with this”. 

Years later, in light of the occurrences of the #MeToo movement, Tarantino apologised, regretting his “cavalier remarks” as stated in an exclusive interview with IndieWire. “I want to publicly apologise to Samantha Geimer for my cavalier remarks on The Howard Stern Show speculating about her and the crime that was committed against her,” the filmmaker told the publication. 

Clearly embarrassed about his previous comments, Tarantino further clarified that, ““Ms. Geimer WAS raped by Roman Polanski. When Howard brought up Polanski, I incorrectly played devil’s advocate in the debate for the sake of being provocative. I didn’t take Ms. Geimer’s feelings into consideration and for that I am truly sorry”.

Surprisingly, Polanski still receives funding for his modern movies and is still able to attract international talent to star in his projects too with the likes of Eva Green, Mathieu Amalric, Mickey Rourke and John Cleese having worked with the filmmaker in the last decade.