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Quentin Tarantino professed his shock at winning the Golden Globe for best screenplay, then proceeded to shock the press backstage.
Addressing the unending conversation over the 100-plus times the characters in his slavery-themed spaghetti Western Django Unchained use the N-word, Tarantino himself uttered the phrase, to audible gasps from the scribes in the winners room.
“They think I should soften it, that I should lie, that I should massage.” Tarantino said, referring to writers and filmmakers, including Spike Lee, who have criticized his use of the slur in the film. The film’s setting of 1860 antebellum South, he said, made that impossible, as did his artistic integrity. “I would never do that when it comes to my characters,” Tarantino added.
It’s a point he’s made before.
“Not one word of social criticism that’s been leveled my way has ever changed one word of any script or any story I tell,” he told THR late last month. “I believe in what I’m doing wholeheartedly and passionately. It’s my job to ignore that.”
He also pointed out Sunday that slavery is still going on across the globe — “go to Malaysia” — and that the U.S. legal system has a bias against African-Americans.
“Drug laws put so many black males in jails,” he said. “The way private and public prisons trade prisoners back and forth, it’s like they are not even hiding it anymore.”
Tarantino has made that point before, including on a Canadian talk show in December. “This whole thing of this ‘war on drugs’ and the mass incarcerations that have happened pretty much for the last 40 years has just decimated the black male population,” the filmmaker said on the Canadian talk show George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight. “It’s slavery. It’s just slavery through and through, and it’s just the same fear of the black male that existed back in the 1800s.”
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