Over the weekend, acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino took part in a rally in New York protesting police brutality. Organized by activist group RiseUpOctober, the march and rally along Sixth Avenue drew attention to the lives claimed by police violence. As a result of this action, a representative of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association has responded with speed and force, much like cops tend to when dealing with non-violent offenders. Still, it’s a potent response and—what’s that? No, they didn’t respond with a call for an investigation into practices that have led to easily preventable deaths. No, nothing about the shocking and excessive violence that results from an increasingly militarized police force that considers itself above the law. What they did do, Deadline reports, is call for a boycott—against the films of Quentin Tarantino.
Let’s get through the details quick, before the inevitable “People should know better than to mouth off with cops, so it’s their own fault” vs. ”Maybe cops should do their jobs without unnecessary horrific violence?” debate begins anew. Tarantino told an AP reporter, “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.” Patrick Lynch, PBA President, responded with the kind of bold language police spokesmen in New York are known for, which is another way of saying he acted like anyone who criticizes police tactics is the scum of the Earth.
”It’s no surprise that someone who makes a living glorifying crime and violence is a cop-hater, too,” Lynch said, diving into the fun world of logical fallacies. “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.” Announcing the boycott is all well and good, but to date, Lynch has bafflingly refused to apologize for the appalling lack of judgment shown by the use of a miserable not-even-pun like “Cop Fiction.”
To be fair, there’s an element of irony to the protest, which fell victim—much like many non-violent recipients of NYPD treatment!—to bad timing, in that the long-planned event took place mere days after a police officer was shot and killed while chasing a suspect charged with murder and robbery. Tarantino agreed, saying, “It’s unfortunate timing, but we’ve flown in all these families to go and tell their stories…That cop that was killed, that’s a tragedy, too.” And Rev. Al Sharpton dedicated his weekly radio broadcast and rally to the fallen officer, as well as traveled to Officer Randolph Holder’s neighborhood with others to lay a wreath in his honor and pray for his family, thereby negating for the 700th time the idiot in your Facebook feed who says “Where are these people when cops get killed, huh?”
It’s unclear if the PBA is serious about this whole boycott thing, or if it was just a quick and easy response to enormous public outcry against a toxic culture of police militarization, a soundbite-ready panacea utilized as a means of once more drawing attention away from the actual issues being raised by the activists and instead turning focus to the much more headline-friendly strategy of going after a well-known Hollywood figure. We just can’t know for sure.