At least one police union has seemingly abandoned its plans to boycott Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight in the wake of the director’s participation in an anti-police brutality rally in October and his subsequent escalating rhetoric against law enforcement.
A representative for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the New York police union that first sparked the boycott threat, told TheWrap on Saturday that it was noncommittal about plans to follow through with the boycott.
“We’re not giving this guy anymore free publicity,” union spokesperson Albert O’Leary told the outlet over the weekend. “We have nothing to say about it.”
The Hateful Eight opened in limited release on Christmas Day and had premiered earlier in December with no reports of protests or disruptions. The epic western took in $1.9 million from 100 theaters in 44 cities on its opening day and is projected to earn around $5 million through its opening weekend, according to Variety. The film opens nationwide on December 31.
Tarantino touched off a firestorm of controversy when he marched in and addressed the RiseUpOctober rally in New York City just four days after NYPD officer Randolph Holder was shot and killed in Harlem while pursuing a suspect. The director referred to police officers as “murderers,” telling demonstrators: “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.”
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch quickly issued a statement calling for a boycott of The Hateful Eight, and law enforcement groups representing thousands of officers across the country—including the LAPD, Philadelphia PD, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), and the National Association of Police Organizations—quickly joined the effort. FOP executive director James Pasco vowed his organization would deliver an economically damaging “surprise” to Tarantino’s film ahead of its release.
It was not immediately clear whether the aforementioned police organizations had entirely abandoned their plans to boycott the film. Emails from Breitbart News to the National Association of Police Organizations and Mr. Pasco at the Fraternal Order of Police seeking comment were not immediately returned.
Tarantino has stood by his comments about police officers in the months since the New York rally, appearing on multiple television and radio talk shows to defend his position. In his first comments after participating in the rally, the director told the Los Angeles Times that critics were attempting to silence him from speaking about police brutality.
Earlier this month, Tarantino said he was “not worried” about the backlash and threats of boycott from police organizations.
“People ask me, ‘Are you worried?’ And the answer’s no, I’m not worried, because I do not feel like the police force is this sinister black hand organization that goes out and f–s up individual citizens in a conspiracy sort of way,” the director said at a recent Hateful Eight press conference. “Having said that, a civil servant shouldn’t be issuing threats, even rhetorically, to private citizens. The only thing I can imagine is that they might be planning to picket us, picket one of the screenings or maybe picket the premiere, or one of the 70mm screenings.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly just last week, Tarantino said he “utterly rejects” the “bad apples” argument that only a handful of police officers behave inappropriately on the job.