Quentin Tarantino has apologized to Roman Polanski's rape victim for telling Howard Stern she "wanted to have it" in a 2003 interview. In a statement to Indiewire, the director says his "cavalier remarks" about the crime were the result of him playing "devil's advocate."
Amid revelations that Tarantino personally choked and spit on Uma Thurman for scenes in Kill Bill, as well as choked Diane Kruger for Inglourious Basterds, the director faced a fresh round of criticism for the comments he made in an interview with Stern in 2003, in which he said Polanski's 13-year-old rape victim "wanted to have it."
In the audio resurfaced by Jezebel, Tarantino defended the Rosemary's Baby director after Stern says "this mad man, this director who raped a 13-year-old,” referring to Polanski's 1977 sexual assault case.
Polanski remains a fugitive after fleeing the US in 1977 before his sentencing in Los Angeles for unlawful sex with Samantha Geimer when she was 13.
Geimer told a grand jury that Polanski had given her Champagne and a quaalude, a powerful sedative, before raping her.
Polanski was indicted on charges of rape, sodomy, committing a lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and giving drugs to a minor. But Geimer's family asked prosecutors to spare their daughter the trauma of testifying at what would surely be an intensely watched trial, so they offered Polanski a deal and he pleaded guilty to a far lesser charge of unlawful intercourse. However, he fled to Poland before formal sentencing and has avoided extradition attempts ever since.
Tarantino told Stern on his program that, despite the grand jury transcripts, what happened wasn't rape.
“He didn’t rape a 13-year-old. It was statutory rape...he had sex with a minor. That’s not rape," Tarantino said. "To me, when you use the word rape, you’re talking about violent, throwing them down — it’s like one of the most violent crimes in the world. You can’t throw the word rape around. It’s like throwing the word ‘racist’ around. It doesn’t apply to everything people use it for.”
When Stern's colleague, Robin Quivers, pointed out that the 13-year-old was given alcohol and sedatives in addition to not consenting, Tarantino countered, "No, that was not the case AT ALL. She wanted to have it and dated the guy."
Stern's crew and Tarantino eventually came to an impasse, with the Kill Bill director maintaining Polanski's victim "was down with this," and implying that the situation would be fine under European morals.
Since the interview resurfaced, many people on social media have said they were giving up on Tarantino.
Critics included Polanski's victim, who tweeted she is "no longer a fan."
BuzzFeed News has reached out to a representative for Tarantino for comment.
Marcus Jones is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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