Police unions across the U.S. are calling for its members to support a boycott of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.
What provoked their ire? Tarantino attended a Black Lives matter rally in NYC on October 24th. “This is not being dealt with in any way at all,” Tarantino said. “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. 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.”
The National Association of Police Organizations, representing nearly a quarter million sworn law enforcement officers asks “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. We need to send a loud and clear message that such hateful rhetoric against police officers is unacceptable. The police he is calling murderers are the same officers who were present along the protest route to ensure the safety of protesters, who provide security when he is filming, and who put their lives on the line to protect our communities day in and day out.”
This is not the first time, nor, dare I say, the last that a major film has met with resistance. Ender’s Game, you might recall, was released under a cloud of controversy because the author of the book, Orson Scott Card, was a raging homophobe. People boycotted and refused to give their money to such a cad, despite the fact that their movie ticket purchases were not directly lining his pocket, and that neither the book nor the movie, starring Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield, contain any overt homophobic material. Paradoxically, Card’s book sales continue to rise, and he sees any controversy as free publicity. So just how effective are these boycotts, anyway?
Catholics have been urged to boycott all kinds of movies – The Da Vinci code being a recent one, as well as The Golden Compass for its reported anti-Christian agenda.
Lately, white people were called on to boycott the Thor movie, the Council of Conservative Citizens justifying the call to action with the following statement: “It seems that Marvel Studios believes that white people should have nothing that is unique to themselves. An upcoming movie, based on the comic book Thor, will give Norse mythology an insulting multi-cultural make-over. One of the Gods will be played by Hip Hop DJ Idris Elba.” A black god? Impossible! Is nothing sacred??? Racist trolls do not know when to shut the fuck up and they’re at it again, this time with Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens in their crosshairs. #BoycottStarWarsVII they say, because JJ Abrams, a “white-hating Hollywood Jew” is perpetrating a “white genocide” on the Star Wars universe by casting multiple people of colour. I don’t know Abrams but I’m guessing he doesn’t mind if these jerks stay home.
You know who else may have stayed home and nobody noticed? The “men’s rights activists” who called a boycott against Mad Max: Fury Road for being a “feminist piece of propaganda posing as a guy flick.” They were concerned that unsuspecting men “are going to be duped by explosions, fire tornadoes, and desert raiders into seeing what is guaranteed to be nothing more than feminist propaganda, while at the same time being insulted AND tricked into viewing a piece of American culture ruined and rewritten right in front of their very eyes. Let us be clear. This is the vehicle by which they are guaranteed to force a lecture on feminism down your throat. This is the Trojan Horse feminists and Hollywood leftists will use to (vainly) insist on the trope women are equal to men in all things, including physique, strength, and logic.” These sweethearts prohibit women and homosexuals from posting on their site at all, so I can’t even call them the ass monkeys they are. Guess I’ll have to defer to our male readership – men, do you feel duped?
Other movie boycotts:
Aloha – for making a movie about Hawaii and failing to cast a single Hawaiian, and for having the audacity to call Emma Stone just a very pale Hawaiian
Exodus: Gods and Kings: again, for an all-white cast in brown face playing Middle Easterners
Sicario: the mayor of the city featured in the movie and about 30 of its residents are boycotting because they say the movie is “out of date” because the 8 murders a day figure has vastly improved since 2010
50 Shades of Grey: for showing domestic violence and calling it erotic
There’s a can of worms here that’s hard to really comment on. You may take issue with some or all or none of these things. But does a boycott just impose your own judgements on someone else? And at what point do we start nearing Trumbo territory? Remember Hollywood’s shame: the blacklisting scandal. Dalton Trumbo was a famed screen writer who was jailed and blacklisted (which meant no one would hire him) because of his political beliefs – or his perceived political beliefs, because blacklisting became a witch hunt and there was no such thing as a fair trial before your career was ripped away from you. So I wonder if any film maker, whether pro-gay or anti-gay, for example, should suffer the same fate. Do people have the right to think and say what they really believe, and do we have a right to deprive them of their livelihood if we disagree?
And for that matter, do we then start boycotting people like Woody Allen for being a weirdo and probably a pedophile? And Christian Bale for allegedly assaulting his mother and sister? There are actually a LOT of unsavoury characters in Hollywood and it seems impossible to avoid all of them for their various transgressions. I have neither the time nor the inclination to vet the beliefs and behaviours of every artist, and I have even less inclination to have them vetted for me by the squeakiest wheel.
Should we just boycott anyone who has different beliefs than our own? But isn’t that what art is about – challenging our preconceptions, sampling different viewpoints? We don’t have to agree with them of course, but isn’t a good thing to read and watch and experience from a variety of sources?
Back to Tarantino. No one has a problem with the movie because no one’s seen it. They have a problem with what he said – which, from what I can tell, is actually a pretty inarguable fact. Cops are gunning down black kids just for being black. Which is not to say that all cops are like this, or even most. But there is a discernible problem with racism, and when you give them all guns, even a small racist minority can turn really deadly. Since when is it wrong to point out flaws in the system? Isn’t it the job of artists in particular to provide social commentary?
Which of these movies would you boycott?