LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - In an interview with the New York Times, Quentin Tarantino has opened up about his knowledge surrounding the sexual harassment and abuse allegations that have come out against his close collaborator Harvey Weinstein.
"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 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 admitted in the interview that he had known about the allegations long before the explosive New York Times and New Yorker reports that catalyzed the producer's fall from grace. Tarantino's former girlfriend, Mira Sorvino, who has since gone public with her own allegations against Weinstein, told Tarantino of the harassment at the time that it allegedly occurred, he said. The director said he had also heard from another actress with a similar story, and knew that Weinstein had settled with Rose McGowan.
Though Tarantino was aware of those instances, he said he didn't put them together into an overall pattern of behavior by Weinstein, and continued to make films with him -- which Tarantino said he now regrets.
"What I did was marginalize the incidents," he recalled. "Anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse."
He added that he didn't take the women's stories seriously enough, telling the Times, "I chalked it up to a '50s-'60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk. As if that's O.K. That's the egg on my face right now."
Tarantino had dismissed the incident recounted to him by Sorvino because he had assumed that Weinstein had a particular interest in her, which had led to him crossing the line. The director added that he had thought that since he was now dating Sorvino, Weinstein would leave her alone. "I'm with her, he knows that, he won't mess with her, he knows that she's my girlfriend," he recalled thinking at the time.
He confronted Weinstein about the second incident recounted by his actress friend, and he said Weinstein offered what Tarantino considered a weak apology to the actress.
Tarantino urged the Hollywood community to take stories like those that circulated about Weinstein more seriously, stating that Hollywood has been "operating under an almost Jim Crow-like system that us males have almost tolerated. We allowed it to exist because that's the way it was." He also asked men in Hollywood to take a more prominent role: "Don't just give out statements. Acknowledge that there was something rotten in Denmark. Vow to do better by our sisters."
Tarantino added that he attempted to reach Weinstein after the allegations exploded, but got no reply.
Tarantino broke his silence on the scandal a week ago, stating that he needed more time to process his "pain, emotions, anger and memory."