Quentin Tarantino, the director arguably most connected to Harvey Weinstein, has admitted that he heard stories about the former executive’s conduct for decades, and that he is “ashamed” he didn’t do anything about it.
Speaking in an interview with the New York Times, Tarantino – who owes much of his success to Miramax‘s investment in his early films – says that he wishes he took more responsibility for the things he heard, which went beyond mere rumour.
“I knew enough to do more than I did,” he said. “There was more to it than just the normal rumours, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things.”
“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.”
Tarantino said that his own ex-girlfriend Mira Sorvino told him about incidents of unwanted touching and inappropriate advances that she had personally experienced with Weinstein. He was also aware of the settlement paid to Rose McGowan, but says he didn’t realise these incidents were part of a pattern of wider abuse.
“What I did was marginalize the incidents,” he said. “Anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse.”
In admitting his own complicity through silence, Tarantino said that it was impossible for anyone to have worked with Weinstein and not been aware of some of the allegations and rumours that circulated him.
“Everyone who was close to Harvey had heard of at least one of those incidents,” he said. “It was impossible they didn’t.”
Tarantino says that there is a culture in Hollywood which enables abusers like Weinstein, and said that he and other men in the film business need to make changes going forward:
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. What was previously accepted is now untenable to anyone of a certain consciousness.
Read the full interview over at the NYT.