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Rolling Stone
October 30, 2015 - 2:33PM

Calls from the boss of New York's police union to boycott the films of Quentin Tarantino in response to the director calling police "murderers" are being echoed across the United States

BY Karl Quinn

Calls for an American police boycott of Quentin Tarantino's films are gathering steam, with police unions in three US cities pledging their support for the campaign launched by New York's union chief.

The action comes after the two-time Oscar-winning writer-director attended and spoke at a rally in New York last weekend organised to protest against police shootings.

Tarantino took to the podium briefly at the rally in Washington Square, in downtown Manhattan, on Saturday. He told the crowd he had things to say but would rather give his time to the families of victims of police brutality.

He explained his presence at the rally, which was predominantly attended by African Americans, by saying: "I'm a human being with a conscience, and if you believe there's murder going on then you need to rise up and stand up against it. I'm here to say I'm on the side of the murdered."

The director, whose films frequently feature African-American actors in lead roles, then uttered the words that have incited the police campaign against him.

"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." 

At a separate gathering in Times Square a few days earlier, he had taken to the stage to read out the names of some of the victims of police shootings.

According to the website killedbypolice, 986 people have been killed by police in the US in 2015. Many of those victims have been African Americans.

The site notes that those deaths are recorded "whether [they occurred] in the line of duty or not, and regardless of reason or method ... inclusion implies neither wrongdoing nor justification on the part of the person killed or the officer involved".

The Rise Up October rally had been in the planning since May, but was held just four days after New York City police officer Randolph Holder was shot dead in the line of duty. Both he and his alleged killer were African American.

Patrick Lynch, head of New York police union the Patrolman's Benevolent Association, immediately called for a boycott of Tarantino's movies.

"It's no surprise that someone who makes a living glorifying crime and violence is a cop-hater, too," Lynch said in his statement on Sunday.

"The police officers that Quentin Tarantino calls 'murderers' aren't living in one of his depraved big-screen fantasies – they're risking and sometimes sacrificing their lives to protect communities from real crime and mayhem.

"New Yorkers need to send a message to this purveyor of degeneracy that he has no business coming to our city to peddle his slanderous 'Cop Fiction'. It's time for a boycott of Quentin Tarantino's films."

One of the most infamous scenes in Tarantino's oeuvre involves the torturing of a police officer by a violent criminal (played by Michael Madsen) in the director's 1992 debut feature Reservoir Dogs. Many of his other movies have been set in a highly stylised version of the criminal underworld.

The call to boycott Tarantino's films could damage the prospects of his next feature, The Hateful Eight, which is due for release in December.

The boycott call has so far been backed by police unions in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New Jersey.