Director Quentin Tarantino, to be fair, has not made his career by bowing to political pressure. And so his decision to remain resolute in his criticism of police in the face of multiple law enforcement agencies boycotting his next film should come as no surprise. But the fact that he’s not the least bit cognizant of how much harm he’s causing shows that you can be both brave and very misguided at the same time.
Tarantino appeared on MSNBC Wednesday to defend his comments at a Black Lives Matter rally last week, where he called police officers “murderers” for taking the lives of unarmed minorities. And that’s the story he stuck with when he sat down with host Chris Hayes.
“I actually do believe that they were murder,” Tarantino said, explaining that he was referring only to a select group of cases when he used the term. “Now, in the case of Walter Scott, who was the man running in the park and was shot in the back, and the case of Sam DuBose, I believe those were murder, and they were deemed murder. And the only reason they were deemed murder is because the incidences were caught on video.”
He claimed to be surprised by the backlash his comments caused. “I was under the impression I was an American and that I had 1st Amendment rights, and there was no problem with me going to an anti-police brutality protest, and speaking my mind, and just because I was at an anti-police brutality protest doesn’t mean I’m anti-police.”
He also went on to explain how he got involved with the movement. “I had made statements in some interviews that had suggested that I’m on their side when it comes to this issue of ultimately what I feel is a problem of white supremacy in this country.”
Annnnd the train goes off the rails.
Look, there’s no question about it. Quentin Tarantino has as much right as anyone to stand up on his soapbox and say anything he wants to say. More power to him for exercising his rights.
But maybe he should stop and think about why he has the right to speak his mind. Laws and law enforcement officials, contrary to how it might seem, are there to protect each individual’s right to be free. In the absence of police, this country would become a tyranny of the strong over the weak. The armed over the unarmed. The many over the few. To blame this system on some idiotic notion of white supremacy is really sad and wrong.
Just as Tarantino has the right to say what he wants, so do we have the right to see another movie when Hateful Eight arrives in theaters.