In the weeks since Quentin Tarantino attended an anti-police brutality rally, the nation’s leading police unions have proved they are not above using the same tactics as conservative media to slander the film director.
“It’s no surprise that someone who makes a living glorifying crime and violence is a cop-hater too,” Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association said in a statement calling for a boycott of the filmmaker’s work.
However, Tarantino said no such thing.
The director was attending a Rise Up October rally, which has been incorrectly identified by conservative news sites as “anti-police.”
Speaking specifically about victims of police brutality, Tarantino said: “This is not being dealt with in any way at all. That’s why we are out here. If it was being dealt with, then these murdering cops would be in jail or at least be facing charges.”
The director continued, making the statement that would be taken out of context:
“When I see murders, I do not stand by. I have to call a murder a murder and I have to call the murderers the murderers.”
“Tarantino has shown through his actions that he is anti-police,” Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby released in a statement also supporting a boycott.
McNesby’s assessment, that being critical of bad policing is somehow an indictment against all police, is absolutely absurd to me.
As the son of a police officer, I am incredibly disappointed by these reactions but its statements made by the National Association of Police Organizations and the national Fraternal Order of the Police that have infuriated me.
“We ask officers to stop working special assignments or off-duty jobs, such as providing security, traffic control or technical advice for any of Tarantino’s projects,” NAPO released in a statement (which also wrongly identified the rally itself as “anti-police”).
A single film set can easily have hundreds of individuals working on it. Advocating for an unsafe environment is the exact opposite of what an organization like NAPO should be doing.
Just days later, executive director of the Fraternal Order of the Police Jim Pasco, warned The Hollywood Reporter, saying “we’ll be opportunistic” in their response to Tarantino.
“Something is in the works, but the element of surprise is the most important element,” Pasco said. “Something could happen anytime between now and [the premiere of “The Hateful Eight”]. And a lot of it is going to be driven by Tarantino, who is nothing if not predictable.”
Sounding like a Bond villain, Pasco continues:
“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.”
What is incredibly disturbing is FOP’s use of threats against an American citizen for expressing their freedom of speech.
Pasco also seems unaware that threatening Tarantino, rather than opening a dialogue with the Rise Up October movement to find a solution to preventing future shootings of unarmed citizens, further proves the director’s point that this issue is not being dealt with.
“Instead of examining the problem of police brutality in this country, better they single me out. And their message is very clear. It’s to shut me down. It’s to discredit me. It is to intimidate me. It is to shut my mouth and even more important that than, it is to send a message out to any other prominent person that might feel the need to join that side of the argument,” Tarantino told the LA Times.
The moment the police unions supported boycotting an artist’s filmography because the director attended an anti-police brutality rally, they sent the wrong message.
One thing that has gotten lost in the media coverage is the group itself, Rise Up October. The group is an extension of the Stop Mass Incarceration organization, launched by Carl Dix and Princeton University Professor Cornell West in 2011.
The group seeks to end racially targeted mass incarceration, racial profiling and the killing of unarmed people of color.
Dr. West spoke the same day as Tarantino, but you won’t hear this sound bite on “Fox & Friends”:
“We’re here because we have a deep love for those who have been abused by the police. Don’t get it twisted—this is a love train!”
Sounds like the police unions should buy a ticket for that ride rather than disassembling the tracks.