Unlike the scores of men in Hollywood expressing disbelief that Harvey Weinstein could have spent decades sexually harassing and assaulting the women around him, the director Quentin Tarantino says he knew — and did nothing.
“I knew enough to do more than I did,” Tarantino, who has been friends with Weinstein for decades, told the New York Times in an explosive interview published Thursday. “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 also called bullshit on the dozens of male executives, filmmakers and writers — including Weinstein’s own brother, Bob — who said they were shocked by the revelations.
“Everyone who was close to Harvey had heard of at least one of those incidents,” he told the paper. “It was impossible they didn’t.”
Weinstein has been publicly accused of harassing or assaulting at least 40 women, and the Times reported earlier this month he had previously reached settlements with at least eight, including the actress Rose McGowan, who has since publicly stated that he raped her. (McGowan starred in a double-feature film, “Grindhouse,” directed by Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez in 2007.)
Tarantino told the Times he was aware of the McGowan settlement, and had also been informed of Weinstein’s behavior by Mira Sorvino, a former girlfriend who says the disgraced producer gave her an unwanted massage and tried repeatedly to pressure her into a sexual relationship.
“He started massaging my shoulders, which made me very uncomfortable, and then tried to get more physical, sort of chasing me around,” she told the New Yorker, adding that he later came to her apartment, bypassed the doorman and showed up at her front door — only leaving when she told him her boyfriend was on his way. She said she believed her career had suffered as a result.
When Sorvino initially told him what had happened, “I was shocked and appalled,” Tarantino told the Times. “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… Because he was infatuated with her, he horribly crossed the line.”
He told the Times he assumed the harassment would stop once he started dating Sorvino, saying he thought at the time, “I’m with her, he knows that, he won’t mess with her, he knows that she’s my girlfriend.”
Tarantino also disclosed that he knew of “several episodes” involving another unnamed but “prominent” actress, and told the Times he was sorry he didn’t act sooner.
“I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard,” he added. “If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him.”
It’s the first time Tarantino — whose career was essentially launched and molded by Weinstein — has publicly acknowledged what he knew and when. Last week, he claimed he had been “stunned and heartbroken about the revelations that have come to light about my friend for 25 years” and asked for “a few more days to process my pain, emotions, anger and memory,” before commenting further.
He now says he knew, but not to the extent that’s been revealed in the two weeks since the story broke.
“What I did was marginalize the incidents,” he told the Times. “Anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse.”
Cover: Director Quentin Tarantino, left, and Harvey Weinstein pose together at the after party for the premiere of “Grindhouse” in Los Angeles, on Monday, March 26, 2007. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)