In an interview published by The New York Times on Thursday, the Pulp Fiction director, 54, admitted that he knew about some of the sexual assault allegations leveled against Weinstein long before the producer became embroiled in the recent controversy. He revealed to the paper that his ex-girlfriend Mira Sorvino had once told him about her alleged incident with the movie mogul — and that he also knew about the settlement Weinstein had reportedly reached with Rose McGowan.
In 1995, when Tarantino was dating Sorvino, the actress told him the story she recently shared with The New Yorker, he said to the Times. In it, she claimed that she was in a hotel room with Weinstein when he began massaging her and chased her around the hotel room, despite the excuses she made to deflect his advances.
“I was shocked and appalled,” Tarantino told the Times. “I couldn’t believe he would do that so openly. I was like: ‘Really? Really?’ But the thing I thought then, at the time, was that he was particularly hung up on Mira.”
At the time, the actress had recently appeared in the Weinstein-produced Woody Allen film, Mighty Aphrodite.
“I thought Harvey was hung up on her in this Svengali kind of way,” Tarantino continued.
The director told the Times that he assumed there wouldn’t be any more problems with the movie mogul, because of their friendship. “I chalked it up to a ’50s-’60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk,” Tarantino said. “As if that’s OK. That’s the egg on my face right now.”
“I knew enough to do more than I did,” he continued. “There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things.”
In addition to learning about the settlement Weinstein reached with McGowan, the Kill Bill director added that another actress had told him a story that had been similar to what Sorvino had told him. But despite the number of stories he heard over the years, Tarantino said he failed to see it as proof of a larger problem. He said that’s why he kept working with Weinstein — he continued to make all of films with Weinstein, including Hateful Eight, the Kill Bill films, Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds — even though he admitted he regretted that now.
“I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard,” he said. “If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him.”
“What I did was marginalize the incidents,” Tarantino continued, adding that he recognized that “anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse.”
Tarantino then went on to claim that “everyone who was close to Harvey had heard of at least one of the incidents” that have recently come to light. “It was impossible they didn’t.”
“I’m calling on the other guys who knew more to not be scared. Don’t just give out statements. Acknowledge that there was something rotten in Denmark. Vow to do better by our sisters,” he continued.
More than 40 women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of sexually inappropriate behavior since a New York Times report first revealed allegations of abuse spanning decades.
Weinstein has since been removed from his company and his wife, Georgina Chapman, has separated from him.
A spokesperson for Weinstein previously told PEOPLE in a statement that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”