The long-running dispute between director Quentin Tarantino and the daughter of legendary martial arts actor Bruce Lee, Shannon Lee, has again resurfaced following an open letter from Lee commenting that she is “tired of hearing from white men in Hollywood that [Bruce Lee] was arrogant and an asshole”.
Depicted by the actor Mike Moh in Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 film Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, the director faced criticism regarding the portrayal of the real-life icon, particularly after he stated: “Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy,” in an interview with Radar Magazine. Shannon Lee voiced her disapproval of the depiction at the time, commenting that the portrayal “made my father into this arrogant punching bag”.
Resurfacing after comments Tarantino made on ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ podcast, once again defending his portrayal of the actor and martial artist, the director stated, “I can understand his daughter having a problem with it. It’s her fucking father. Everyone else: go suck a dick”. Though Lee believes that the director’s opinion represents a wider problem of white men in Hollywood.
“They have no idea and cannot fathom what it might have taken to get work in the 1960s and 1970s Hollywood as a Chinese man with (God forbid) an accent,” she wrote in the open letter. Continuing, she stated that such comments are especially cutting in contemporary society, adding: “At a time when Asian Americans are being physically attacked, told to “go home” because they are seen as not American, and demonised for something that has nothing to do with them I feel moved to suggest that Mr. Tarantino’s continued attacks, mischaracterisations and misrepresentations of a trailblazing and innovative member of our Asian American community, right now, are not welcome”.
It’s not the first time, nor no doubt the last, that Shannon Lee has spoken out about the director’s actions, Tarantino is yet to respond to Lee’s recent comments.