Big-time Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino and FBI Director James Comey are both on the hot seat— but for being on different sides of the same issue.
Comey made the case that the “Ferguson effect” is for real. He noted the spike in urban crime and linked it to a reluctance of the police to enforce laws out of a fear of a backlash of scrutiny and violence. “I don’t know whether this explains it entirely,” Comey stated, “but I do have a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind blowing through American law enforcement over the last year. And that wind is surely changing behavior.”
The FBI director wasn’t the only one to make this claim. Former New York City police chief Ray Kelly drew the same conclusion.
Meanwhile, Tarantino attended a rally in New York City protesting police violence and made some remarks that got a lot of media attention. “I’m a human being with a conscience,” he declared, “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.”
That prompted police groups to band together. Labeling Tarantino a “cop hater,” they started a national movement to boycott his next film, “The Hateful Eight.”
There are reasons enough to skip a Tarantino film, since his work is basically just a rip-off of movies made by others. Still, his last film, the violent and controversial movie “Django Unchained” (2012), did well at the box office and received critical acclaim. Odds are this film will do well as well, despite the boycott.
On the other hand, the debate over the Ferguson effect is just getting started.