In a recently unearthed 2003 interview with Howard Stern, Quentin Tarantino made it clear that he does not believe Roman Polanski is a rapist. During the interview, which was recently unearthed by Jezebel, Stern confronted Tarantino with audio recorded by his roving reporter Gary Garver, who Tarantino had told in an interview that it was “pretty cool actually” that Polanski had recently won the Best Directing Oscar for “The Pianist,” and that he didn’t consider the Academy Award winner a rapist.
In 1977, film director Roman Polanski was arrested and charged with raping 13-year-old Samantha Geimer — the five specific charges were rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor. Polanski pled guilty in exchange for a lesser charge of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse, but in 1978 fled the country upon learning that he was likely to face imprisonment and deportation.
When Stern asked Tarantino to explain his logic, the director, who was on the show promoting the release of his “Kill Bill Vol. 1” spent six minutes defending his position, arguing Polanski’s 13-year-old victim was a “party girl” who was “down for the party.”
“I don’t believe it’s rape, not at 13, not for these 13-year-old party girls,” said Tarantino. “He had sex with a minor, that’s not rape. To me when you use the word rape you are talking about violent, throwing down, it’s one of the most violent crimes in the world. Throwing the word rape around is like throwing the world racist around. It doesn’t apply to everything.”
When Stern and his co-host Robin Quivers stated that the girl’s testimony made it clear she didn’t want to have sex – reading directly from the police transcript of the girl stating she told Polanski she wanted to go home and said “no” when he leaned into kiss her – Tarantino dismissed the testimony, arguing the girl lied to to appease her mother. “She’s trying to take care of her mom who is pissed off at her,” said Tarantino. “Her mom is now on her, now she has to say he did this, he did that. Now that she’s an adult she has a whole different story.”
When he was further challenged, Tarantino said that he had read “Roman by Polanski,” the director’s autobiography in which he describes that encounter as consensual, which he said is a more believable version of events. He added, “I have a little bit of information about this, alright, rather than just popping off on this that or the other.”
Quivers then told Tarantino that Polanski could have avoided all of this by not being with a 13-year-old, Tarantino replied, “Yeah, he could have, he likes girls.” Earlier in the conversion Tarantino made what he felt was an important distinction: “By the way, we are talking about America’s morals, not the morals of Europe and everything.”
Stern then discussed his own three daughters and that no 13-year-old-girl should be in position of even having consensual sex with a 40-year-old man, especially while being fed drugs and alcohol. “You are killing him with the booze and pills thing,” said Tarantino. Stern replied, “but it’s true,” to which Tarantino countered, “No more than if she was 18, 19, or 20.”
Tarantino has appeared on the Stern show multiple times, dating back to 1997 and as recently as 2016. While previous appearances have always been available on YouTube, this episode for years was not. Previously the details of the conversation had only existed online via fan recaps. The YouTube of Tarantino defending Polanski was posted February 4 by user “mn ty,” who has no other posted videos.
The YouTube appeared one day after the New York Times published an interview with Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” and “Kill Bill” star Uma Thurman, who told the paper she was sexually assaulted by Tarantino’s longtime producer and distributor Harvey Weinstein. Thurman also revealed Tarantino made her drive a reportedly unsafe car, despite the actress’s objections, in “Kill Bill” that resulted in the an accident that left Thurman with serious injuries.
Last week, it was reported that Polanski will be a character in Tarantino’s upcoming movie that is set against the 1969 backdrop of the Manson Family murder of Sharon Tate, who was Polanski’s wife at the time of her death.
You can listen to the interview below: