NEW YORK • Quentin Tarantino, the Hollywood director most closely tied to Harvey Weinstein, has known for decades about the producer's alleged misconduct towards women and now feels ashamed he did not take a stronger stand and stop working with the mogul, he said in an interview.
"I knew enough to do more than I did," Tarantino said on Wednesday, citing several episodes involving prominent actresses. "There was more to it than just the normal rumours, the normal gossip. It wasn't second-hand. 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."
Allegations of sexual harassment and assault by Weinstein were disclosed this month in The New York Times and The New Yorker, which prompted other women to share their accounts of his alleged abuse.
The Los Angeles police are investigating an unnamed Italian model-actress' claim that she was raped in 2013 by the producer, who is under investigation in New York and London for alleged sexual assaults in those cities.
In the hour-long conversation, Tarantino, 54, apologised for not doing more while also explaining why; admitted his culpability while also calling for sweeping change in Hollywood's treatment of women; and condemned Weinstein, 65, while acknowledging their father-son closeness. Weinstein distributed Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1992); Pulp Fiction (1994); Kill Bill films (2003 and 2004); Inglourious Basterds (2009); and The Hateful Eight (2015). A few weeks ago, he threw Tarantino an engagement party.
The director said his own ex-girlfriend, actress Mira Sorvino, whom he started dating in 1995, told him about unwelcome advances and unwanted touching by Weinstein.
"I was shocked and appalled," Tarantino said. "I couldn't believe he would do that so openly. I was like, 'Really? Really?' But the thing I thought then was that he was particularly hung up on Mira."
Tarantino said he felt the problem was resolved at the time because "I'm with her, he knows that, he won't mess with her, he knows that she's my girlfriend".
Another actress told Tarantino a similarly upsetting story years later.
He also knew actress Rose McGowan had reached a settlement with Weinstein.
But Tarantino said he had failed to consider whether the women he knew were part of a larger pattern of abuse. Though he continued to hear alarming stories over the years, he proceeded to make film after film with the producer, his greatest champion - a decision he now regrets.
"What I did was marginalise the incidents," he recalled, saying he wrote them off as mild misbehaviour. "Anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse."