Quentin Tarantino said last week he needed time to process his feelings about the revelations that his friend Harvey Weinstein had harassed and assaulted dozens of women. Wednesday, in an hour-long interview with the NY Times, Tarantino admitted he knew enough about Weinstein’s behavior long before this week but that he didn’t follow up on most of the rumors and stories he heard:
“I knew enough to do more than I did,” he said, citing several episodes involving prominent actresses. “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.”
“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.”…
His own former girlfriend, Mira Sorvino, told him about unwelcome advances and unwanted touching by Mr. Weinstein. Another actress told him a similarly upsetting story years later. He also knew that the actress Rose McGowan had reached a settlement with the producer.
Tarantino did confront Weinstein once after another actress told him about some inappropriate behavior:
Another actress friend told him a troubling story of unwanted advances by Mr. Weinstein in a hotel room. Mr. Tarantino confronted Mr. Weinstein, who offered the woman what the director described as a weak apology.
The Times confirmed that account with the actress who doesn’t want to be named. So Tarantino at least confronted Weinstein on one occasion, but it seems as if he should have known it was much worse than that one instance. His own girlfriend had told him Weinstein chased her around a hotel room. He says now that he rationalized that as Weinstein being “hung up” on Mira Sorvino.
The Times reports that during the interview Tarantino issued several “calls to action” for Hollywood. “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,” he tells the Times.
I guess there’s something to be said for that belated acknowledgment, especially given how few men have spoken up so far. On the other hand, it seems pretty tone-deaf coming from someone who admits he (mostly) did nothing while Weinstein was running rampant for three decades.
Now is probably not the moment for directors and actors, especially those close to the epicenter of this scandal, to be preaching to anyone else about what to do. You had your chance on this and you didn’t do it. But no one’s hands are clean. As a screenwriter who worked with Weinstein explained recently, “Everybody f**king knew.“