If Quentin Tarantino is worried about how his inflammatory remarks about police will affect the box office returns of his new movie, he’s not showing it. In fact, he has only expanded his anti-cop comments since infuriating the boys in blue this fall. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly on Monday, the Hateful Eight director said that he didn’t want to hear the argument that only some cops were the problem.
“I completely and utterly reject the bad apples argument,” Tarantino said. “Chicago just got caught with their pants down in a way that can’t be denied. But I completely and utterly reject the ‘few bad apples’ argument. Yeah, the guy who shot [Laquan McDonald] is a bad apple. But so are the other eight or nine cops that were there that said nothing, did nothing, let a lie stand for an entire year.”
Tarantino continued, casting the net of blame even further. “And the chief of police, is he a bad apple?” Tarantino asked. “I think he is. Is Rahm Emanuel a bad apple? I think he is. They’re all bad apples. That just shows that that’s a bulls*** argument. It’s about institutional racism. It’s about institutional cover-ups that are about protecting the force as opposed to the citizens.”
Tarantino originally got in hot water with police unions when he participated in a protest in New York City, just days after a cop was shot trying to apprehend a thief. “I have to call the murdered the murdered and I have to call the murderers the murderers,” Tarantino said in October.
His remarks led several police unions and organizations, including the LAPD and the NYPD, to call for a boycott of his new film.
Tarantino and others should understand that they are only hurting their own cause with this kind of rhetoric. Yes, there are instances of police brutality and even instances of police murder, and these need to be publicized and addressed when appropriate. But when you stand out there and say the whole system is racist and corrupt, it turns off allies who would otherwise be standing right by you. No one wants to see guilty cops go free. But nor do we want to see innocent men get railroaded in the name of social justice.
There’s a reason so many of these cases end in acquittal or, in many cases, don’t even get pushed to trial by a grand jury. And it’s not because the cover-up is so extreme that cops can’t be punished. It’s because these cases are meritless, driven by idiots on the street who don’t know the difference between urban legend and evidence. It’s also because Americans understand that we put the police in difficult situations where mistakes can happen. And no one wants to send a man to prison for making a split-second decision that turned out to be the wrong one.
The sooner we can get past conspiracy theories and outrageous comments, the sooner we can address the real problems.