Old audio of Quentin Tarantino defending director Roman Polanski, who was convicted of statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977 has resurfaced. The audio is from an interview the Kill Bill director did with Howard Stern shortly after Polanski was honored by the Academy Awards for his work on The Pianist. Tarantino supported the Academy's decision, which Stern question him about, considering Polanski's checkered past with sexual misconduct. Here was Tarantino's initial response.
"He didn't rape a 13-year-old. 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."
Roman Polanski was convicted and, instead of facing sentencing, he fled the country. When Robin Quivers, Howard Stern's longtime on-air producer and partner, brought up the fact that Polanski's victim was drugged up on pills and alcohol before the assault took place, Tarantino got defensive and the rant takes a very bad turn. In the middle of this response from the director, Quivers reminds him in shock that, "She was 13!"
"No, that was not the case at all! She wanted to have it and dated the guy and...And by the way, we're talking about America's morals, not talking about the morals in Europe and everything."
This audio may be from 15 years ago, but it's no less troubling to hear, especially with everything that's been going on in Hollywood in recent months. The Harvey Weinstein scandal started this massive wave of change in the industry, a man that Quentin Tarantino's entire career is tied to. "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," said Tarantino to the New York Times last October after the news of Weinstein's years of sexual misconduct were made public. In a new interview with Deadline, Tarantino says that Uma Thurman made it clear to him that Weinstein had harassed her, harassment which she detailed in a recent expose in the New York Times, and he says that he "made" Weinstein apologize.
"While we were getting ready to do Kill Bill, Uma tells me that he had done the same thing to her. That was when I realized there was a pattern, in Harvey's luring and pushing attacks. So I made Harvey apologize to Uma. My confrontation [with Weinstein] was saying, you have to go to Uma. This happened. You have to apologize to her and she has to accept your apology, if we're going to do Kill Bill together."
Mira Sorvino, who dated Quentin Tarantino at one point, had also been harassed by Harvey Weinstein. Tarantino became a major focus following Uma Thurman's account of Weinstein's misconduct, as footage of a car crash that took place during the filming of Kill Bill, an accident that was covered up, was published with the New York Times piece. Based on Thurman's account of the incident, many blamed Tarantino for the crash. He spoke with Deadline to reveal that he was in contact with Thurman about the piece and went through years of old footage to find the crash for her. He also detailed the crash, from his perspective.
"I start hearing from the production manager, Bennett Walsh, that Uma is trepidatious about doing the driving shot. None of us ever considered it a stunt. It was just driving. None of us looked at it as a stunt. Maybe we should have, but we didn't. I'm sure when it was brought up to me, that I rolled my eyes and was irritated. But I'm sure I wasn't in a rage and I wasn't livid. I didn't go barging into Uma's trailer, screaming at her to get into the car. There are no weird dips, there are no gully kinds of things...Uma had a license. I knew she was a shaky driver, but she had a license."
Unfortunately, the drive was altered at the last minute and, even though Tarantino had tested the road himself, they decided to have Thurman drive the other way. As a result, the driving conditions changed and Thurman crashed. However, in an Instagram post on Monday, she explains that she blames Lawrence Bender, E. Bennett Walsh and Harvey Weinstein for the crash and defended Tarantino.
"I post this clip to memorialize it's full exposure in the nyt by Maureen Dowd. The circumstances of this event were negligent to the point of criminality. I do not believe though with malicious intent. Quentin Tarantino, was deeply regretful and remains remorseful about this sorry event, and gave me the footage years later so i could expose it and let it see the light of day, regardless of it most likely being an event for which justice will never be possible. He also did so with full knowledge it could cause him personal harm, and i am proud of him for doing the right thing and for his courage. THE COVER UP after the fact is UNFORGIVABLE. For this i hold Lawrence Bender, E. Bennett Walsh, and the notorious Harvey Weinstein solely responsible. They lied, destroyed evidence, and continue to lie about the permanent harm they caused and then chose to suppress. The cover up did have malicious intent, and shame on these three for all eternity. CAA never sent anyone to Mexico. I hope they look after other clients more respectfully if they in fact want to do the job for which they take money with any decency."
Even though Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino have made peace with one another, the director's knowledge of Weinstein's actions over the years hasn't painted him in a positive light. It was also revealed in the New York Times peace that Tarantino spit in Thurman's face while filming Kill Bill for one of the scenes, in addition to choking the actress. That behavior has also, been called into question, but they're decisions Tarantino defends in his interview with Deadline.
"Naturally, I did it. Who else should do it? A grip? One, I didn't trust Michael Madsen because, I don't know where the spit's going to go, if Michael Madsen does it. I talked to Uma and I said, look. I've got to kind of commit to doing this to you... Now, I love Michael, he's a terrific actor, but I didn't trust him with this kind of intricate work, of nailing this. So the idea is, I'm doing it, I'm taking responsibility."
All of that coupled with this resurfaced audio of the director defending Roman Polanski paints a rather ugly picture. Not only that, but it was recently revealed that Quentin Tarantino is planning to include Polanski as a major character in his upcoming Manson family movie, which films later this year. It's also unclear at this time if any of these issues will have an effect on the R-rated Star Trek movie he's working on with Paramount and J.J. Abrams. You can check out the full audio interview clip with Howard Stern, which was first reported by Jezebel, as well as Uma Thurman's Instagram post, which includes footage of the car crash from the set of Kill Bill, for yourself below.