Tarantino deserves backlash, but should his career end?

One of the latest Hollywood scandals has involved the famous director Quentin Tarantino, who pressured actress Uma Thurman to drive a dangerous stunt car during the filming of Kill Bill. Although she was worried about her ability to drive the car, Tarantino insisted she drive it. Ultimately, she ended up crashing the vehicle and suffering injuries, experiencing “dehumanization to the point of death” as she called it herself. Tarantino has apologized for his actions and has expressed regret, even giving Thurman footage of the accident to help support her story. However, this apology comes across as much too late and rather forced. It is obvious that Tarantino only released the footage of the accident when he knew he had to keep his image intact.

It is especially frustrating that an event such as this could occur during production of a movie like Kill Bill because the film features so many strong female characters, especially the main character played by Thurman. Her character survives so much throughout the film that, despite its brash, exaggerated nature, the movie does indeed send an empowering message. Even though he wrote a screenplay featuring such a character, however, Tarantino’s real world actions during the filming of it indicate that he only sees actresses as parts of a movie and not actual people that can be hurt and have limits to what they can do. This situation should not have happened; after all, Thurman had a stunt double who could have driven the car for her. Actors’ safety should not be sacrificed for the best possible shot; if Thurman’s accident is truly “one of the biggest regrets of his life," then Tarantino’s future movies must be made with this fact in mind.

Thanks to recent media scrutiny, however, Tarantino’s future career is seeming to be a bit turbulent. A recent article by The Guardian reveals other scandals that have caused outrage towards the director. These include making comments in 2003 defending director Roman Polanski’s sexual assault of a 13-year-old in 1977 and making comments in public about fetishising Rose McGowan’s feet. Although these actions are indeed repellent and distasteful, the article seems to hyperbolize the situation by implying that Tarantino’s career is finished. For instance, the article mentions that there are multiple predictions of the end of Tarantino’s career because of these scandals, when only one source is mentioned as saying that they could have a “lasting impact” and not end it entirely. The article also brings up Tarantino’s connection to Harvey Weinstein in order to spur more disgust towards the director (Tarantino made many films with the disgraced producer).

By calling for Tarantino’s career to end, this article loses credibility because it seems like it is trying to cheaply catalyze public outrage in order to gain more readers. This sensationalism ultimately hurts women because the media is not trying to expose these scandals to provoke change in society and thoughtful discussion on how we can improve; they are only trying to write a story that will make a quick buck and gain a reader’s attention more easily. There are rarely stories that focus on the root cause of sexist behavior because they always focus on calling for the end of careers. Certainly, some careers should end because of these scandals, but the focus should be on stopping them in the future, not just writing sensationalist articles. Tarantino has made serious mistakes, but should he face the same consequences for them as monsters like Harvey Weinstein? Perhaps Tarantino can learn from his missteps; after all, actress Diane Kruger, who starred in one of his movies made after Kill Bill, insisted that he showed her “utter respect” in an instagram post. Tarantino rightly deserves the outrage for his past actions, but calling for an end to his career immediately seems like the start of a slippery slope.


Ben Crnic is a contributor for the The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at benjamin.crnic@uconn.edu.