Standing Up for Quentin Tarantino at The Hateful Eight Movie Opening in Chicago

January 12, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Eve Ensler, Carl Dix, Cornel West, and Quentin Tarantino march with families representing people murdered by police

Eve Ensler, Carl Dix, Cornel West and Quentin Tarantino in march on October 24 with families of people murdered by police. Photo: Special to Revolution

A few of us went to see the opening of the The Hateful Eight in downtown Chicago. We wanted to let people know about the courageous stand that Quentin Tarantino, director of the film, had made by speaking out last October 24 at the Rise Up October—Which Side Are You On? rally and march against murder by police, in New York City. He said, “I am a human being with a conscience,” calling attention to the deaths of unarmed people at the hands of the police, like Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Freddie Gray, and Tamir Rice. “When I see murder I cannot stand by. And I have to call the murdered the murdered and I have to call the murderers the murderers.”

For saying this, Tarantino faced a blistering campaign by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and police unions, the New York Post, and Fox News, who denounced and threatened him, including raising the possibility of a boycott against the film. Tarantino put himself on the line, and so we took the opportunity to speak to people watching the movie The Hateful Eight.

We leafleted people going into the River East multiplex, then ran and got seats as the theater was a full house. I knew we had to stand up and speak to the audience about the courageous stand of Quentin Tarantino and stopping police terror and murder

There is an intermission in the The Hateful Eight, about 10 minutes. So right at the end of the intermission and before the movie started again, I stood up at the packed theater and said, “People, you should know that this director, Quentin Tarantino, stood up on October 24 against police murder, and because of his stand he was viciously attacked and threatened by the police across the country. He stood against the epidemic of police murder. Police nationwide continue to murder unarmed people, disproportionately Black and Latino. They have incarcerated 2.3 million people. There are fascistic calls to punish and deport people because they are Muslims, Arabs and immigrants. All of us who see injustice must act to stop the genocidal trend gripping this country. If you find this intolerable, join with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. We cannot stand idly by, shake our heads and accept this. We must act. Stop Police Terror—What Side Are You On?”

People responded by clapping and a few “right on’s” were heard. When the movie started again the people in front of us turned, thanked us and said it was perfect timing. As we left the theater some people came up to me. One was a Black man, an ex-cop, who said when he became a cop after getting out of Vietnam, he’d never experienced such hatred for Black people as he did in the police forces. He kept emphasizing the total “disdain” that cops have for Black people, and that those with the most hatred and disdain got promoted up the ranks. He said that he got out of the police force after a few years. He took a copy of Revolution newspaper and the fliers we were also getting out about the trials of activists who were arrested in protests against police murder.

A young man said, “You are brave to stand up in a theater and say what you did, but you are right, this has to stop.” He and his friends took fliers and said that they would get them around. Other people needed to be drawn out, but all took fliers and many said they would go to I told them about upcoming events: the national conferences of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network across the country; the campus tour of Stolen Lives families, families who lost loved ones to police murder, in February (Black History Month). And we talked about the need to stop the widespread torture in prisons and treating those formerly incarcerated as less than full human beings. I encouraged everyone to get off the sidelines and into the streets, to be a part of stopping police terror—what side are you on? At the Music Box, a major art theater in Chicago, even the 3 p.m. show was sold out and at the 7 p.m. show there were lines around the block! Fuck the pig boycott!



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