Lord of the Rings actor Viggo Mortensen joined actors Jamie Foxx and Mark Ruffalo in criticizing the boycott against Quentin Tarantino. Mortensen defended the controversial comments The Hateful Eight director made while participated in an anti-police rally in New York City last month, even going so far as to accuse Tarantino’s critics of “condoning” police brutality.
In an interview with HuffPost Live this week, Mortensen said the nationwide police boycott of Tarantino’s films in the wake of his participation in the rally was a “smokescreen” meant to avoid real issues of police brutality.
As disturbing as the police brutality that we’re talking about — these instances of abuse of power that have unfortunately caused the death of people, unarmed citizens — as disturbing as that, if not more so in the long run, are the people who are condoning it, these heads of police unions, by going after Tarantino instead of sitting back and going, ‘Yeah, we know there are some issues.’ It has become endemic because these people are condoning it. That’s what they’re doing when they go after the messenger like that.
Mortensen added that he thinks the planned boycott “won’t work, and probably more people will see his movie out of curiosity than might have.”
The actor elaborated in a separate interview with the Democracy Now! website, telling host Nermeen Shaikh that Tarantino “knocked it out of the park” in his interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Wednesday night.
You know, clearly, there is a—it’s a small minority, obviously, and it is a problem, of police officers, not just in New York and not just in Missouri and not just in the South, but all over the country—there are some individuals who break the law, who are committing criminal acts as police officers, who are murdering, who are using excessive force. But what’s more troubling—and that’s part of the reaction, the backlash against Tarantino—is the condoning, the tacit condoning of these abuses of power by certain police officers by their bosses, by people who should know better.
The fallout against Tarantino has continued to build. On Friday, the Fraternal Order of Police organization announced they had a “surprise” in store for Tarantino; while the organization would not elaborate, it reiterated that it was not making a physical threat but an economic one.
Tarantino’s film The Hateful Eight will be released in select theaters on Christmas Day before opening wide on January 8. The Weinstein Company released the first full trailer for the film on Thursday.