7 Feb 2018

Tarantino interview about Roman Polanski rape resurfaces

1:25 pm on 7 February 2018

Director Quentin Tarantino has been criticised after a radio interview resurfaced in which he said Roman Polanski having sex with a 13-year-old girl wasn't rape.

US director Quentin Tarantino arrives with actor John Travolta and Uma Thurman, pictured in 2014.

US director Quentin Tarantino arrives with actor John Travolta and Uma Thurman, pictured in 2014. Photo: AFP / Alberto PIZZOLI

In the 2003 interview, the Pulp Fiction director downplayed the incident - dismissing the idea that it was rape.

Tarantino told DJ Howard Stern the 13-year-old "wanted to have it" and was "down to party with Roman".

Polanski admitted unlawful sex with a minor in 1977 and served 42 days in prison before fleeing the US.

Tarantino has not responded to a request for comment.

Earlier, he apologised for the crash Uma Thurman suffered while on set of the 2003 film Kill Bill.

If you or someone you know needs help because of sexual assault, details of where to go are listed at the end of this article.

In the interview for The Howard Stern Show, Tarantino discussed the Polanski case at length with Stern and his co-host Robin Quivers.

As part of a plea bargain, Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor - an offence that was previously known as statutory rape.

"He didn't rape a 13-year-old," Tarantino told Stern. "It was statutory rape. That's not quite the same thing... He had sex with a minor, all right. That's not rape.

"To me, when you use the word rape, you're talking about violent, throwing them down."

Co-host Robin Quivers told Tarantino that Polanski's victim had been given psychoactive drugs and alcohol before being assaulted. The director still denied the sexual encounter could be deemed a rape.

Tarantino replied: "No, that was not the case at all. She wanted to have it and dated the guy."

Later in the exchange, Tarantino told Stern he accepted the act was illegal, and that he'd "beat the hell" out of a man who had sex with his 13-year-old daughter, if he had one.

He went on: "I don't believe that's rape. I believe it's against the law. I don't believe it's rape. Not at 13 - not for these 13-year-old party girls."

Quivers told Tarantino that Polanski could have avoided the situation by not socialising with 13-year-olds, to which the director responded: "He likes girls."

On Twitter, many have been shocked at the comments. Anthony Rapp, who says Kevin Spacey made sexual advances on him when he was 14, called the interview "gruesome".

Melissa Silverstein, the founder of Women and Hollywood - a group that advocates for gender diversity and equality - called the comments "horrible".

Last year, the woman who was assaulted by Polanski asked an LA court to end the case against him, saying she had forgiven the Oscar-winning director.

Polish courts and the Swiss authorities have rejected requests for him to be extradited to the US.

Where to go to get help

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

Women's Refuge: (0800 733 843)

It's Not OK (0800 456 450)

Shine: 0508 744 633

Victim Support: 0800 650 654

- BBC

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