What Quentin Tarantino Needs to Say to End Police Boycott

One thing only, and he’s not going to like it

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Director Quentin Tarantino holds a banner as attends a rally to denounce police brutality in Washington Square Park October 24, 2015 in New York City. The rally is part of a three-day demonstration against officer-involved abuse and killing. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
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Quentin Tarantino is dragging out a non-apology tour by appearing on Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show on Wednesday night one day after ‘splaining himself to the L.A. Times on Tuesday.

Here is what he has to say to make the raging police boycott against his upcoming film “The Hateful Eight” go away, and he’s not going to like it: I’m sorry.

He can say he’s sorry he offended the police. He can say he’s sorry if they misunderstood his words to mean that all police are murderers. He can apologize if his words conveyed something he didn’t intend.

But he needs to make a sincere apology to get the police to reholster their weapons and stand down.

Yes, that would be painful. It would require the kind of accommodation to which a proud iconoclast like Quentin Tarantino is not accustomed.

But it would be a sign of maturity, and it would go a long way to backing up the studio, cast and film community that has supported him and his singular artistic voice lo these many decades.

Let’s be honest: The police unions are using Quentin’s comments to spin up a smokescreen of indignation that is not wholly deserved. Their self-righteous protests and nationwide boycotts are in direct proportion to the public pummeling they have taken over the past year, since the events of Ferguson, Missouri, over deep-seated racism and serial misconduct in states across the nation.

Police abuse is shameful, and for officers of all stripes there has been nowhere to hide from the ubiquitous cellphone footage, including the latest of a deputy flipping an African-American high schooler out of her chair in a South Carolina classroom.

So Quentin knew what he was talking about. And he’s accustomed to speaking — and writing dialogue — in hyperbolic terms.

But that almost doesn’t matter. This thing has taken on a life of its own, and at this point it’s up to the director to make it stop.

One wonders if Quentin actually wants people to know that he’s non-apologizing. On Tuesday he managed to eke out the words, “All cops are not murderers,” but quickly followed with the childish rejoinder, “I’m not taking back what I said.”

And his chosen TV venue is curious too. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes has the lowest-rated primetime show on cable news, or close to it. Does Quentin want people to see this, or not?

Quentin, you can do this. Find some sincere way to acknowledge the offense. And let’s all move on to see the damn movie.