Anti-Police Brutality Protesters Support Quentin Tarantino at 'Hateful Eight' N.Y. Premiere

Patrick Sison/AP Photo
Quentin Tarantino during the "RiseUpOctober" rally.

A handful of demonstrators gathered across the street from Manhattan's Ziegfeld Theater, holding signs showing their solidarity with the filmmaker.

Despite promises of a "surprise" for Quentin Tarantino from the Fraternal Order of Police after the filmmaker spoke out against police brutality, last week's Los Angeles premiere of The Hateful Eight occurred without incident.

When Tarantino brought the red-carpet screening of his Western to New York on Monday night, though, there were protesters, but they were there to support the filmmaker, not oppose him.

Shortly after the red carpet opened at 6 p.m., a few people gathered across the street from the Ziegfeld Theater on Manhattan's 54th Street and could be seen, through the clear sides of the tent covering the red carpet, holding up signs that said things such as "Stop Police Brutality & Murder." They continued to hold up signs as Tarantino and the cast and crew of Hateful Eight made their way down the carpet but didn't seem to be causing a disturbance.

The demonstrators included organizers of the RiseUpOctober protest in which the filmmaker participated. One of the protesters, who goes by the name of Sister Shirley and declined to give her real name, said that she marched with Tarantino in October.

Carrying a sign emblazoned with Tarantino's "I have to call the murdered the murdered and I have to call the murderers the murderers" quote from the event, Sister Shirley said she and fellow demonstrators were there to support the filmmaker who supported them.

"We stand behind him, and we're glad that he's standing behind us because murder is murder, no matter who does it," Sister Shirley told The Hollywood Reporter. "Unfortunately, there are too many police officers, law-enforcement officers, all around the United States who are killing, they're murdering people, and they're getting away with it. We're saying enough is enough and we're not going away."

Tarantino's appearance and comments at the RiseUpOctober event ultimately led to a planned boycott from unions for the five largest police departments in the country.

While Sister Shirley said Tarantino didn't know the anti-police brutality demonstrators would be at Monday's premiere, the director and a number of his producers seemed to appreciate their presence.

Tarantino waved, walked over and signed one of the protesters' signs, Sister Shirley told THR.

"He is very receptive to what we're doing. This is not only about him, this is about all of us," she said. "And I'm glad that he took a stand because a lot of people, they want to take that stand but they don't have the guts. They don't want to come out of their comfort zone. They don't want to stand out."

Hateful Eight producers Stacey Sher, Richard Gladstein and Shannon McIntosh all said they weren't worried about the lingering controversy surrounding Tarantino's remarks and they commended him for speaking out.

"Thank God in America we still have the rights to free speech — that's what makes our country great," Sher told THR on the red carpet. "And everybody out there has the right to say what they want to say, just like he has the right to say what he wants to say or I do or you do. That's what makes our country fantastic."

Gladstein added, "Quentin spoke about an issue that's important to him, about injustices that he sees. As far as I'm concerned, it should be met with applause."

He went on to say that he was glad to see demonstrators supporting Tarantino and carrying signs featuring slogans such as "Quentin, speak your mind."

"I'm happy to see that, rather than some other version that maybe misunderstood or manipulated what he said," Gladstein told THR.

McIntosh, meanwhile, hoped that Tarantino's comments would lead to a productive conversation.

"If it takes someone like Quentin to point out that we need to dialogue, then so be it. I think people should step up," she told THR. "I think it's great that he made a statement at a time that's really critical for him."

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