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Quentin Tarantino Apologizes to Roman Polanski’s Rape Victim, Which Is a Good Thing, I Guess?

image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr Quentin Tarantino

Director Quentin Tarantino has been under a lot of well-deserved fire in recent days, both for his treatment of Uma Thurman during the making of Kill Bill, and for the sickening comments he made during an interview with Howard Stern back in 2003 that resurfaced recently to remind us all what a sexist toolbag he can be, despite creating nuanced female characters. Now, he’s apologizing for the latter. Great?

As reported by the New York Daily News, Tarantino released an apology directly to Roman Polanski’s rape victim, Samantha Geimer, whom Polanski drugged and raped when she was thirteen, but whom Tarantino said in the resurfaced interview “wanted to have it.”

He has apparently rethought that position (the recent backlash he’s experienced helped, I’m sure) and released the following statement:

“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”

I just need to read this sentence again while punching many walls: “I incorrectly played devil’s advocate in the debate for the sake of being provocative.”

The devil doesn’t need advocates, bruh. He’s doing fine on his own.

I’m glad Tarantino made this apology, and he seems to genuinely understand what was wrong about what he said1) that what Geimer experienced was rape, and that even the most “consenting” thirteen-year-old isn’t capable, legally or emotionally, of fully consenting to sex with an adult; and 2) that it is wrong to play “devil’s advocate” with someone’s trauma for shock valuebut I can’t help but be disappointed in the fact that this apology, like so many others we’ve heard recently, only came after public prodding.

Had Uma Thurman not opened up about her experience on Kill Bill, he would never have been forced to really deal with that. Had all that not happened, this Howard Stern interview would likely have remained buried in the pop culture archives, and the backlash never would’ve come. Tarantino never would’ve had any reason to do anything but toddle along as all of his opinions were totally okay.

He’s often cited the fact that he was raised by a single mother as the reason why he “respects women” and creates the female characters he creates. Here’s the thing: everyone has a mother, even sexists. Sometimes, they even have single mothers. Having a mother, or female friends, or a wife, or being the creator of female characters people respond to doesn’t make one a feminist.

What makes someone a feminist is the genuine belief that women are people deserving of equal rights and respect coupled with actions that support that belief. If someone has to prod a person that hard to get them to take action on their beliefs, I can’t imagine those beliefs were that strong to begin with.

Or, that person is a coward. Plain and simple.

Now, despite my initial excitement, I really wish J.J. Abrams would get Tarantino’s hands off our Star Trek. I don’t care how “cool” his story is. Of all franchises, this one in particular doesn’t need to be seen through a cowardly, sexist lens.

(image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

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