Many in Hollywood have worked with Harvey Weinstein over the past couple of decades, but no one is more closely associated with the now-disgraced studio mogul than Quentin Tarantino. All of Tarantino’s films were financed by Weinstein in some capacity, and the two have been close friends for more than 20 years. (Weinstein threw Tarantino an engagement party just a few weeks before the allegations broke.) So when the sexual assault and harassment allegations against Weinstein, reportedly long an “open secret” in Hollywood, first became public, the question naturally arose of how much Tarantino knew about his buddy’s behavior, and why he didn’t stop it.
Last week, Tarantino gave a preliminary statement through actress Amber Tamblyn, saying that he was “stunned” and “heartbroken” and promising to speak publicly on the allegations after he’d had some time to process them. Well, today Tarantino followed through with an interview with The New York Times.
“I knew enough to do more than I did,” Tarantino says, admitting to knowing that there was something going on beyond “the normal rumors, the normal gossip.” Specifically, Tarantino knew that Weinstein had reached a settlement with Rose McGowan—who recently accused Weinstein of rape—and he knew that Weinstein had harassed Mira Sorvino, because Sorvino told him about it when she and Tarantino dated back in the ‘90s. “I was shocked and appalled,” Tarantino says. “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.” He also says that another, unnamed actress told him that Weinstein had made advances on her, and that he confronted Weinstein, who offered a “weak apology.”
Where Tarantino admits his own culpability in the situation is not pursuing the stories he had heard about Weinstein further, assuming that they were limited to just the women he knew about. He says that he chalked them up to old-fashion chauvinism, “a ’50s-’60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk. As if that’s okay. That’s the egg on my face right now.” He also admits that it was financially beneficial for him not to look into Weinstein’s actions too closely: “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,” Tarantino says.
In the interview, Tarantino also calls on men in Hollywood to take action and not allow the “almost Jim Crow-like system” that keeps women on the margins of the industry to continue. “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,” he says.
As for Tarantino’s own future, he says he’s tried several times to contact Weinstein to get him to “face the music,” but has not gotten a reply. In response to a question about whether his relationship with Weinstein would tarnish his own legacy, he says, “I don’t know. I hope it doesn’t.”