Unearthed interview finds Tarantino's enthusiastic defence of Roman Polanski

Ben Arnold
Contributor

The bad headlines for Quentin Tarantino don’t appear to be drying up just yet.

The director has come under scrutiny over revelations from Uma Thurman in an interview with the New York Times that he coerced her into performing a car stunt during the making of Kill Bill Vol. 1, a stunt that could have killed her.

Despite being uncomfortable with the stunt, she did it, after Tarantino allegedly said ‘Hit 40 miles per hour or your hair won’t blow the right way and I’ll make you do it again’.

She crashed the car, which she described as ‘a death box’, and has now released footage of it, though she later defended Tarantino, saying that she was ‘proud’ of him for handing the footage over to her, despite the potential damage to his reputation.

Speaking to Deadline yesterday, Tarantino called the accident ‘the biggest regret of my life’.


But an interview in which he vigorously defends convicted rapist Roman Polanski, may not be so quickly forgiven.

It’s been unearthed from a Howard Stern show (via Jezebel), first broadcast back in 2003, but resonates given the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns, which are fighting to uncover decades of sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood.

Speaking about the director, Stern asked Tarantino why he defended ‘this mad man, this director who raped a 13-year-old’, which Tarantino had done publicly when Polanski won Best Director for The Pianist at the 2003 Oscars.

“He didn’t rape a 13-year-old,” he said. “It was statutory rape… 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.”

Polanski sexually assaulted 13-year-old model Samantha Gailey in 1977, after giving her alcohol and pills. He later pleaded guilty to the crime, and was sentenced to 90 days in a psychiatric facility, but fled the US after hearing that his plea bargain with the courts was to be overturned, and he could face 50 years in prison.

Stern’s longtime co-host Robin Quivvers also weighed in:

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.”

The director is yet to comment on his remarks.

It follows comments he made about Harvey Weinstein, who was Tarantino’s friend, as well as being instrumental in kick-starting his career, producing many of his movies from Pulp Fiction to his most recent, The Hateful Eight.

“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.

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