It's only been a few days since Uma Thurman suggested Quentin Tarantino didn't heed her safety concerns on the set of Kill Bill, but now the director is facing another past controversy. This week, Tarantino apologized to Samantha Geimer for comments that he made on the Howard Stern show 15 years ago. Geimer was allegedly raped by Roman Polanski in 1977, when she was just 13 years old. (Polanski pled guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, but eventually fled the country and has not returned since.)
Tarantino's 2003 comments suggested that he didn't believe Geimer was raped, because she was a "party girl." "I don't believe it's rape, not at 13, not for these 13-year-old party girls," the director told Howard Stern during an interview at the time. During that conversation, Tarantino also said that Geimer "wanted to have it and dated the guy," according to Variety.
Now, though, the director is retracting his statements about the alleged incident. He issued a statement to IndieWire, published Thursday, in which he says he discovered "how wrong I was." According to the outlet, Tarantino also personally called Geimer on Wednesday to apologize for his previous remarks. Here's his full statement to IndieWire:
"I want to publicly apologize 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 realize 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. So, Ms. Geimer, I was ignorant, and insensitive, and above all, incorrect. I am sorry Samantha. Quentin Tarantino"
Tarantino's apology to Geimer comes a day after she told the New York Daily News that the director "was wrong." "I bet he knows it," she told the Daily News of Tarantino, before his statement was released. "I hope he doesn't make an a** of himself and keep talking that way... I'm not upset, but I would probably feel better if he realizes now that he was wrong, after 15 years, after hearing the facts. Nobody has to be pissed off on my behalf. I'm OK."
Geimer has since written the 2013 book The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski. She also told the Daily News, "It's not a big deal to me what people think." In 2015, she told the same paper that she has forgiven Polanski.
In addition to apologizing to Geimer, Tarantino also clarified his version of the Kill Bill incident during a recent interview with Deadline. His statements came after Thurman described the Kill Bill car crash, which led to knee injuries and a concussion, in a New York Times article published Saturday. In an Instagram post Thurman shared after the Times' article was published, the actor wrote that Tarantino "was deeply regretful and remains remorseful about this sorry event," adding that he helped her obtain the crash footage.
"I am guilty, for putting her in that car, but not the way that people are saying I am guilty of it," Tarantino told Deadline. "It's the biggest regret of my life, getting her to do that stunt."
While Tarantino's 2003 comments are controversial, to say the least, it's good to see him learning from the past and apologizing for his harmful words about Geimer. And it's good to see him standing by Thurman's side as she shares the Kill Bill car crash footage, too. Hopefully statements like Tarantino's apology to Geimer will encourage others to listen to survivors' stories going forward before casting judgment.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.