Quentin Tarantino says he knew about instances of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein for decades but failed to act in order to protect women, adding: “I knew enough to do more than I did.”
In an interview the director, who worked with Weinstein on some of his most successful films, including Pulp Fiction, said that he regretted not taking responsibility and assisting alleged victims of the producer, who is accused of sexually harassing and assaulting more than 50 women.
“There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip,” he said in the interview with the New York Times. “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.”
Tarantino said that he had been aware of the settlement between Rose McGowan and Weinstein and that his then girlfriend Mira Sorvino had told him about an incident involving Weinstein making unwelcome advances and touching.
“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,” said Tarantino. “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.”
Weinstein distributed Tarantino’s films from his debut Reservoir Dogs to his most recent, The Hateful Eight, and the director said his attitude to the rumours was initially dismissive. “I chalked it up to a 50s-60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk,” he said. “As if that’s OK. That’s the egg on my face right now.”
On Thursday the Los Angeles police department announced it was opening an investigation into whether Weinstein raped an Italian model in 2013. The unnamed model claims the mogul bullied his way into her hotel room and raped her.
“The Los Angeles police department’s robbery homicide division has interviewed a potential sexual assault victim involving Harvey Weinstein which allegedly occurred in 2013,” an LAPD spokesman told the Los Angeles Times. “The case is under investigation.”
In an earlier statement to the New Yorker, Weinstein’s spokesperson Sallie Hofmeister said: “Mr Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but he unequivocally denies allegations of non-consensual sex.”
Earlier in the day, workers at the Weinstein Company released a statement to the New Yorker saying they had asked to be let out of their non-disclosure agreements in order to shed more light on the producer’s actions.
“We have nothing to hide, and are as angry and baffled as you are at how Harvey’s behavior could continue for so long,” it read. “We ask that the company let us out of our NDAs immediately – and do the same for all former Weinstein Company employees – so we may speak openly, and get to the origins of what happened here, and how.”
Tarantino’s comments follow the news that Weinstein’s prestigious fellowship from the British Film Institute – described as its “highest honour” – had been withdrawn. The BFI said “the serious and widespread allegations about Harvey Weinstein’s appalling conduct are in direct opposition to the BFI’s values.”