Vulgarity, obscenity, and all-around offensive rhetoric have characterized Quentin Tarantino’s career over the years; it’s what fans of his work have come to expect (and love). The Hateful Eight is no different. Taking place in the tumultuous post-Civil War period of American history, the film tackles major themes associated with race and bigotry. The director has never shied away from these issues before, but recently admitted that The Hateful Eight is the first time in his career that he decided to edit out a piece of dialogue.
A new report from The Telegraph indicates that Tarantino cut a line of dialogue spoken by Sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins). The line of dialogue was:
You ask the white folks in South Carolina if they feel safe.
Walton Goggins’ character would have uttered the line towards the beginning of the film when Mannix – a former confederate turned Red Rock Sheriff – explains his view of race relations to Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson). Tarantino decided to remove the line following the recent, tragic mass shooting at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina in which a domestic terrorist opened fire on a number of black parishioners in the name of white supremacy and the Confederate flag. Of course, when the line was filmed, nobody could have expected that such a tragedy would occur in South Carolina, but through an incredible sequence of coincidences, the line had greater meaning beyond its application towards post-Civil War whites.
The director’s stance on the Confederate flag is one of utter disdain, stating in the same Telegraph interview that it represents the "American swastika" and praised its widespread banning over the summer. Quentin Tarantino also took part in the Rise Up movement, which aimed to take a stand against police brutality – particularly towards the African American community. Later in his interview with The Telegraph, he laid out his opinion regarding the current state of affairs regarding southern racism and the Confederacy:
And people are starting to question about stuff like statues of Bedford Forrest [the Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard] in parks. Well, it’s about damn time, if you ask me.
While his movies contain racist characters as well as a few slurs that we’re not going to type out, Quentin Tarantino has come out as a vocal opponent of racist rhetoric. Prior to The Hateful Eight, his previous outing behind the camera on Django Unchained took a look at slavery through the lenses of the Blaxploitation genre, and featured the titular Django (Jamie Foxx) getting revenge against southern white racists for their mistreatment of the African American community during the 1800s.
All of this seemingly adds up to Tarantino simply not being comfortable leaving such a topical and unintentionally poignant line in the final product of The Hateful Eight. In the end we think Tarantino made the right call by pulling the line from the film. Those of you who have seen the director’s latest film already know that censoring one single line doesn’t exactly neuter the film’s message or its vulgar content. Would you agree? The Hateful Eight is currently out in theaters now.