Director Quentin Tarantino has drawn the condemnation of the NYPD's police union after participating in an anti-police brutality protest this weekend in New York City.
The "Django Unchained" filmmaker was one of the prominent faces among the thousands who attended rallies on Saturday organized by RiseUpOctober, which sought to bring attention to incidents of alleged police violence against men and women of color.
“I’m a human being with a conscience,” Tarantino said at the protest. “If you believe there’s murder going on then you need to rise up and stand up against it. I’m here to say I’m on the side of the murdered.”
The protests however, were controversial because they took place less than a week after an NYPD officer, Randolph Holder, was killed in the line of duty. Tarantino acknowledged that the timing of the events were "unfortunate" in an interview with The New York Post. “That cop that was killed, that’s a tragedy, too,” he told the newspaper.
Still, as far as the Police Benevolent Association's president Patrick J. Lynch is concerned, Tarantino crossed a line. “It’s no surprise that someone who makes a living glorifying crime and violence is a cop-hater, too,” he said in a statement.
“The police officers that Quentin Tarantino calls ‘murderers’ aren’t living in one of his depraved big screen fantasies — they’re risking and sometimes sacrificing their lives to protect communities from real crime and mayhem,” Lynch added. “New Yorkers need to send a message to this purveyor of degeneracy that he has no business coming to our city to peddle his slanderous ‘Cop Fiction.’ It’s time for a boycott of Quentin Tarantino’s films.”
Although Tarantino has largely been viewed as apolitical since he burst onto the Hollywood scene nearly 25 years ago, he has been more outspoken as of late about his personal views. In a recent interview with New York magazine he confirmed that Barack Obama is "hands down" his "favorite" president of his lifetime.
“He’s been awesome this past year. Especially the rapid, one-after-another-after-another-after-another aspect of it. It’s almost like take no prisoners. His he-doesn’t-give-a-sh*t attitude has just been so cool. Everyone always talks about these lame-duck presidents. I’ve never seen anybody end with this kind of ending. All the people who supported him along the way that questioned this or that and the other? All of their questions are being answered now,” Tarantino said.
In the same interview, Tarantino also expressed an affinity for the Black Lives Matter movement: “I love the fact that people are talking and dealing with the institutional racism that has existed in this country and been ignored. I feel like it’s another ’60s moment, where the people themselves had to expose how ugly they were before things could change. I’m hopeful that that’s happening now.”
His latest project, "The Hateful Eight," a western starring Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh, hits theaters on Christmas Day.