Amid controversy over Uma Thurman’s near-fatal Kill Bill stunt, a 15-year-old interview with Quentin Tarantino went viral online Monday (Feb 5). The 2003 Howard Stern interview included an almost eight-minute defense of Roman Polanski by the famous director.
“He didn’t rape a 13-year-old. It was statutory rape. It’s not the same thing. He had sex with a minor. That’s not rape. 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,” Tarantino told the shock jock. “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. He was guilty of having sex with a minor.”
In 1977, Polanski was charged with drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl. He later pled down to unlawful sex with a minor. Before sentencing, Polanski fled to Paris and has stayed in France since then. Co-host Robin Quivers reminded Tarantino that the 13-year-old girl had been fed drugs and alcohol, but he said that didn’t matter.
“She wanted to have it. She dated the guy,” he said. “And by the way, we’re talking about America’s morals, not talking about the morals in Europe and everything.”
Stern countered that a “grown man” has to know that sex with a 13-year-old girl is “wrong,” but Tarantino again disagreed. “Look, she was down with this,” he said. If it had been his daughter in the same situation, the director said, “There would be a bullet in Polanski’s head,” but the 13-year-old victim “was down to party with Roman.”
“When did you guys turn into Bill O’Reilly?” Tarantino asked. O’Reilly was fired from Fox News in April, 13 years after the interview, amid allegations of sexual harassment, abuse and racial discrimination from former female co-workers. He and the network allegedly paid five women US$13mil in settlements and a sixth settlement for a reported US$32mil.