His films may be gory, but Quentin Tarantino has made it pretty clear where he stands on the issue of police brutality. “I think you can actually decry police brutality and still understand that there is good work that police do,” said Tarantino, who was in town today to promote The Hateful Eight.
“Just because some union mouthpieces are calling for a boycott doesn’t mean officers on the street are necessarily gonna follow suit,” he added. “A lot of police out there are big fans of my work. I hope they’re not gonna take Patrick Lynch’s word for what I said.”
At a rally against police brutality on October 24 in Washington Square Park, Tarantino told the crowd, “I have to call a murder a murder and I have to call the murderers the murderers. If you believe there’s murder going on then you need to rise up and stand up against it.”
Police unions across the country extending all the way up the ranks to the National Association of Police Organizations joined in on denouncing the director for what they considered “anti-police rhetoric” that equated all police with murderers.
While Tarantino has stood by his original statements, he insists that opposing injustice doesn’t necessarily mean opposing police. (“I never said that [all cops are murderers]. I never even implied that,” he later told the Los Angeles Times.)
As The Hateful Eight nears its December 25 roadshow release date, it’s unclear exactly what form the proposed boycott will take, if any. Executive Director of the Fraternal Order of Police Jim Pasco has said that “something is in the works,” and that whatever that something is “could happen anytime.”
At Monday’s press conference, the director went so far as to express his hope that more police might take his side of the issue:
“I think there are a lot of good cops out there who should agree with what I said if they’re coming from the right place.”
Tarantino said he hopes to “go further” with his activism once he’s done promoting the film. Until then, the bulk of his engagement with the issue of police brutality and institutional racism will take place through the camera lens.
After making Django Unchained, the genre-hopping director told reporters that he “realized I wasn’t done with the [Western] genre. I wasn’t done with what I felt I had to say…and one of the things I had to say in this regard was dealing with race in America, which a lot of Westerns had avoided for such a long time.”
For those police and civilians who won’t be participating in the boycott, tickets for the film’s 70mm roadshow went on sale today.
By Roxie Pell for gothamist.com