Quentin Tarantino said Thursday that comments he made in a 2003-era Howard Stern clip about Roman Polanski were "ignorant." In a statement, Tarantino said he felt compelled to "publicly apologize" to Samantha Geimer after telling Stern that Polanski "didn't rape a 13-year-old."
"Fifteen years later, I realize how wrong I was," Tarantino told Variety. "Ms. Geimer WAS raped by Roman Polanski." During his discussion with Stern, Tarantino claimed, he ended up "incorrectly" playing devil's advocate while trying to be provocative. "I didn't take Ms. Geimer's feelings into consideration and for that I am truly sorry," he said. In closing, Tarantino conceded he was "ignorant, and insensitive, and above all, incorrect."
"It was statutory rape," Tarantino said in the 2003 interview. "That's not quite the same thing. He had sex with a minor, alright? That's not rape. To me, when you use the word 'rape,' you're talking about violent, throwing them down; it's one of the most violent crimes in the world. Throwing the word 'rape' around is like throwing the word 'racist' around. It doesn't apply to everything that people use it for. He was guilty of having sex with a minor."
Polanski, director of Rosemary's Baby and The Pianist, was arrested in 1977 on multiple charges and ultimately pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. He later left the country. Geimer spoke with the New York Daily News earlier this week about Tarantino's resurfaced remarks, which she—prior to the release of Tarantino's statement—knew he likely regretted. "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," she said. "Nobody has to be pissed off on my behalf. I'm okay."