Note to Quentin Tarantino: Shut up.
I don’t ask my house painter to do my taxes. I don’t want my dentist involved in redesigning my bathroom and I certainly don’t ask my car mechanic to run my website. Everyone has their strengths in life, Mr. Tarantino, and while you may be a successful director of violent Hollywood films you are, by no means, an expert on our nation’s police force.
As I recall, your 1992 film, “Reservoir Dogs,” featured a terrifying scene in which a cop is tortured so we already know where you stand. A little research digs up information showing that you’ve been arrested for shoplifting, done jail time after ignoring $7,000 worth of parking tickets and, more recently, sued for assaulting a Hollywood producer. So, really, spare us your pontificating about the state of law and order in America.
For readers who may have missed Tarantino’s latest act let me re-cap.
Tarantino traveled to New York to appear at an anti-cop rally. Standing behind a podium draped with a banner that read, “Rise Up! Stop Police Terror!” he declared to the already agitated crowd that cops are “murderers.”
“When I see murders, I do not stand by,” he roared. “I have to call the murderers the murderers!”
Tarantino also chose to repeat incorrect facts about the 2014 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the episode that galvanized the “Black Lives Matter” movement. He told the rapt crowd Brown had, “tried to run away” from police officer Darren Wilson when, in fact, the most reliable grand jury witnesses testified that young Brown was “charging” the officer when he was shot. Furthermore, there was no credible evidence that the teen ever threw up his arms and cried, ‘Don’t shoot.” Those conclusions were not disputed by the U.S. Justice Department which refused to charge the officer.
Facts be damned if you’re writing a Hollywood script but this is serious, real life and death business.
Tarantino’s rabble-rousing display against law enforcement came as New York City was in mourning for police officer Randolph Holder, 33, shot in the head just three days earlier. Holder, a third generation officer, had responded to a report of shots fired and was killed as he pursed the suspect, a career criminal with 28 arrests on his rap sheet.
Holder was the fourth NYPD officer killed in the last 11 months. These officers were murdered in cold blood while working to keep the rest of us safe.
As they say in Hollywood, timing is everything and Tarantino’s timing couldn’t have been worse.
“Shame on him,” NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told a local radio show. “There are no words to describe the contempt I have for him and his comments at this particular time.”
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association is among those now promising to boycott all Tarantino films.
“It’s no surprise that someone who makes a living glorifying crime and violence is a cop-hater, too,” Lynch said. Cops across the country are joining the Tarantino boycott.
To be clear, I’m not one of those who thinks celebrities should just, “Shut up and sing,” or act or dance or whatever it is they do. All of us have the right to express an opinion on, say, who they support for president. That’s citizenship in action.
It is wonderful when singer Bono pushes for AIDS assistance for Africa or actor George Clooney campaigns to raise awareness about the crisis in Darfur. When Angelina Jolie throws her star power behind causes like helping refugees and wiping out global poverty it’s terrific.
But what Tarantino did wasn’t anywhere near altruistic. It was deliberately inflammatory and delivered to a crowd looking for a reason to declare war on all law enforcement. In my book Tarantino very nearly opened himself up to a charge of inciting a crowd to violence.
The bottom line: Next time Tarantino finds himself in need of a police officer – after a burglary at his home, a car accident or even crowd control at one of his fancy film premieres – he may not be greeted by officers who necessarily feel the need to protect and serve him.
Now, that would be an interesting plot twist.