Quentin Tarantino has described the Confederate battle flag, which is a symbol of pride and historical significance for millions of Southern Americans of all races, as an “American swastika.”
In a wide-ranging interview with the UK Telegraph in advance of the British release of his western The Hateful Eight, Tarantino discussed incidents he feels have racially divided the United States and then proceeded to unloaded on defenders of the Army of Northern Virginia’s battle flag.
“I mean, I’ve always felt the ‘rebel flag’ was some American swastika,” he told the paper.
Tarantino said, “People are starting to question about stuff like statues of Bedford Forrest in parks,” referencing Nathan Bedford Forrest, a lieutenant general in the Confederate army and later a prominent figure in the foundation of the Ku Klux Klan.
“…all of a sudden, people are talking about it, and now they’re banning it, and now it’s not OK to have it on f—king license plates, and coffee cups, and stuff,” he said.
The controversial filmmaker, who has consistently defended his statements equating police officers to “murderers” at an anti-police brutality rally last October, then commented that the U.S. hasn’t been “as divided with itself since the Civil War.”
At the New York anti-police rally he attended in October, Tarantino told demonstrators, “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.”
He added: “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.”
Tarantino told the Telegraph that America’s current racial climate was a motivating factor in his appearance at the rally.
In December, Tarantino said that once he is finished promoting his film, he intends to continue his anti-police activism.
“Right now, [promoting The Hateful Eight] is my full-time job,” he told The Guardian. “But when this is over, I want to go further with this.”
He later said in a radio interview about the Black Lives Matter movement that there is a problem “with the shooting of unarmed black and brown males,” in the U.S.
He added: “And there is a problem with institutional racism… particularly in law enforcement.”