Quentin Tarantino has said he’s not concerned about the threats leveled against him and his eighth film, The Hateful Eight, by the largest police union in the US. In October, Tarantino made headlines for saying, “I’m here to say I’m on the side of the murdered,” during a rally held in New York protesting police violence. New York’s largest police union responded to Tarantino’s participation and use of the word “murdered” by urging a boycott of his films,led by Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. A number of other US police unions have since joined in the call for a boycott, followed by a threat issued from the Fraternal Order of Police, who told the Hollywood Reporter they had “something in the works” for The Hateful Eight’s release in December.
“The element of surprise is the most important element,” Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, said. “The right time and place will come up and we’ll try to hurt him in the only way that seems to matter to him, and that’s economically.”
Tarantino, who has not backed down from his remarks following the backlash (he told MSNBC: “Just because I was at an anti-police brutality protest doesn’t mean I’m anti-police”), addressed Pasco’s vague taunt at a press conference on Saturday in Los Angeles. Tarantino was there to discuss The Hateful Eight alongside his cast, including frequent collaborator and friend Samuel L Jackson.
“People ask me, ‘Are you worried?’ And the answer’s no, I’m not worried, because I do not feel like the police force is this sinister black-hand organization that goes out and fucks up individual citizens in a conspiracy sort of way,” Tarantino said. “Having said that, a civil servant shouldn’t be issuing threats, even rhetorically, to private citizens. The only thing I can imagine is that they might be planning to picket us, picket one of the screenings or maybe picket the premiere, or one of the 70mm screenings.”
“Or buy up all the tickets to make sure the theater’s empty,” Jackson offered.
“Well, that don’t really hurt me!” Tarantino said, laughing. “I don’t have any inkling and I haven’t heard anything about it, other than Patrick Lynch is keeping the fire on simmer.
“It’s unfortunate because I do respect the good work that the police do,” Tarantino continued. “I live in the Hollywood Hills and when I see a cop driving around there I actually assume he has my best interest at heart and he has the interest of my property at heart. I think if you go to Pasadena they’d say the same thing, and I think if you’d knock on doors in Glendale, they’d say the same thing.”
“[But] go down to Century Boulevard and start knocking on apartment doors in Inglewood, and they’re not going to say the same thing. I think all that was put into place 30 years ago when we declared a war on drugs and started militarizing the police force. You’re not going to have the police force representing the black and brown community if they’ve spent the last 30 years busting every son and daughter and father and mother for every piddling drug offense that they’ve ever done, thus creating mistrust in the community.”
“At the same time, you should be able to talk about abuses of power. You should be able to talk about police brutality and what, in some cases, as far as I’m concerned, is outright murder and outright loss of justice, without the police organization targeting you in the way that they have done me.”
Watch: The trailer of The Hateful Eight
Later, when asked about the controversial nature of his work (like most of his films, The Hateful Eight features liberal use of the N-word), Tarantino said: “As an artist, I don’t think about political correctness at all.”
“It’s not my job to think about that,” he continued. “It is my job to ignore social critics or the response that social critics might have when it comes to the opinions of my characters, the way they talk, or anything that can happen to them.”
The Hateful Eight will first premiere in select 70mm theaters on Christmas Day before getting a wide release on 18 January 2016.
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