A 2003 Howard Stern interview, in which Quentin Tarantino adamantly defends Roman Polanski’s sexual assault of a 13-year-old in 1977, recently resurfaced online, forcing the director to issue an apology.
Quentin Tarantino can be heard defending Roman Polanksi against rape claims and making disparaging remarks about his victim, Samantha Geimer, in audio footage of the 2003 interview.
Asked by Howard Stern why Hollywood continues to embrace “this mad man, this director who raped a 13-year-old,” Tarantino replies: “He didn’t rape a 13-year-old. It was statutory rape… he had sex with a minor. That’s not rape.”
The director continues: “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 and his co-host, Robin Quivers, argue that it was still wrong due to the fact that Samantha Geimer was a minor, Tarantino stands his ground saying that “he was down with this”.
“She wanted to have it and dated the guy,” he argues, dismissing allegations that Polanski had given the child “booze and pills” prior to their sexual encounter.
Understandably, Tarantino’s ignorant comments sparked outrage online – and Geimer has since come forward to point out that what Polanski did to her was, by any definition, rape.
“[Tarantino] was wrong,” she tells the New York Daily News. “I hope he doesn’t make an ass of himself and keep talking that way.”
Geimer adds: “I’m not upset, but I would probably feel better if he realises now that he was wrong, after 15 years, after hearing the facts. Nobody has to be pissed off on my behalf. I’m OK.”
Now, Tarantino has released an official apology, which has been shared by Indie Wire.
The statement reads: “I want to publicly apologise to Samantha Geimer for my cavalier remarks on The Howard Stern Show speculating about her and the crime that was committed against her. Fifteen years later, I realise how wrong I was. Ms. Geimer WAS raped by Roman Polanski.
“When Howard brought up Polanski, I incorrectly played devil’s advocate in the debate for the sake of being provocative. I didn’t take Ms. Geimer’s feelings into consideration and for that I am truly sorry.”
Addressing his final lines to Geimer directly, Tarantino concludes by saying: “So, Ms. Geimer, I was ignorant, and insensitive, and above all, incorrect.
“I am sorry Samantha.”
Polanski met Geimer – then Samantha Gailey – in 1977, and said he was interested in photographing her for a project.
The photoshoot was conducted at the Mulholland Drive home of Jack Nicholson (Nicholson was away travelling at the time).
According to Geimer’s 1977 grand jury testimony, Polanski took the photos before inviting her into a hot tub. After giving her champagne and a Qualuude (a prescription sedative), the director engaged in oral, vaginal and anal intercourse with Geimer in a bedroom.
Polanski was later indicted on six criminal counts, including sodomy, sex with a minor and rape by use of drugs. In an attempt to keep the matter from going to trial, he pleaded guilty to the least serious offense: unlawful sexual intercourse.
He was sent to jail for a 90-day psychiatric evaluation, reports Rolling Stone, but was released after 42 days. This angered the judge, who ordered him to go back to jail for the remaining 48 days, then voluntarily deport himself back to Europe. Instead, he hopped on the next flight to London. He hasn’t come back to the United States since.
Since 1997, Geimer has repeatedly asked for criminal charges to be dropped against Polanski, so that her childhood rape by him no longer features so prominently in his life.
After publicly forgiving the disgraced director, she told Larry King that “his punishment was secondary to just getting this whole thing to stop.”
Images: Rex Features