Great news, all. Every crime in America has been solved and there won’t be any new crimes for the foreseeable future. That means nobody’s going to be robbed, raped or killed at any point in, well, at least the next few weeks. We know this because the nation’s police apparently now have the free time on their hands to harass and threaten movie directors they don’t like instead of dealing with actual criminals.
By now you probably know that Quentin Tarantino has drawn the ire of police unions across the country because he had the temerity to take part in a protest against police brutality on October 24th in New York City. At the rally, Tarantino spoke out about the well-documented instances of police violence over the past couple of years, saying, “When I see murders, I do not stand by . . . I have to call the murderers the murderers.” Now any idiot can grasp that Tarantino wasn’t calling all or even most cops murderers; he was speaking specifically about the cops involved in killing innocent citizens or those whose crimes by no means warranted the immediate dispensing of the death penalty. In response to this, several police unions and national law enforcement groups urged a boycott of Tarantino’s upcoming movie, The Hateful 8.
Now, however, the Fraternal Order of Police is getting involved and it’s difficult to overstate how disturbing and sinister its message is to Tarantino. Basically, the FOP is threatening him, saying that he’s in for a “surprise.” According to the Hollywood Reporter, Jim Pasco, the executive director of the FOP won’t go into detail about what it has planned for Tarantino; he’ll only saw that they’ll be “opportunistic.”
“Tarantino has made a good living out of violence and surprise. Our offices make a living trying to stop violence, but surprise is not out of the question… Something is in the works, but the element of surprise is the most important element. Something could happen anytime between now and [the premiere]. And a lot of it is going to be driven by Tarantino, who is nothing if not predictable.”
Yeah, watch yourself, Quentin. You better switch up your routine.
Pasco swears he’s not threatening physical violence or anything, thank God. He says the FOP will try to hit Tarantino in the wallet. Still, let’s make something perfectly clear here: When the largest police organization in the country, with more than 330,000 sworn officers, says to someone, anyone — most certainly a Hollywood director who did nothing more than say something it didn’t like — that it’s got a “surprise” for him, that should raise a hell of a lot of alarms. It’s bad enough police unions feel they can set aside any single responsibility they might have to bother attacking a filmmaker, but for the Fraternal Order of Police to then be seen cavalierly — arrogantly — issuing threats against that director is so far beyond the pale it’s out in no man’s land. In a free country, no one should tolerate that.
There’s a certain political breed in this country that loves to bitch and moan whenever a private company penalizes someone who says something gruesomely offensive. They shout “censorship” when, say, A&E pulls Phil Robertson off Duck Dynasty for ten minutes because he’s an unapologetic bigot, as if he has a right to a job on television and a network is outright silencing him. The thing is, that’s not censorship. However, when people carrying badges and guns who work for the state suddenly begin making or implying threats against people who say things they don’t like — that is a kind of censorship. When the police don’t like you and make it known, the danger is already implicit; for them to come right out and tell you that you’re in their sights and that they’ve got a big surprise for you they’re not willing to go into details about, that’s fucking terrifying.
Every single American should be furious that this is how the Fraternal Order of Police is using its time and authority, whether you’re staunchly pro-cop or you have legitimate issues with how law enforcement officers do their jobs. Tarantino may create stylized violence on the big screen, but the police have the ability and authority — as we’ve witnessed firsthand many times — to bring very real violence to bear in an instant. And to even hint that that might on the way for someone whose only misdeed is that his words hurt the feelings of the police is both grossly irresponsible and practically, yes, criminal.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.