Both Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee have had their fair share of feuds over the course of their careers. However, the two had a major disagreement after Lee publicly called Tarantino out due to his problematic artistic sensibilities which resulted in a very public dispute between the two prominent filmmakers.
Over the years, Tarantino has angered many people – ranging from Oliver Stone and Denzel Washington to Bruce Lee’s family. Spike Lee has had a similar experience with multiple public controversies, having criticised figures such as Charlton Heston, Clint Eastwood and supporting other controversial celebrities like Woody Allen.
Many have raised questions about the racial politics in the films of Quentin Tarantino, including Spike Lee who cited Tarantino’s usage of the N-word in his films while talking about the subject. Lee said in an interview: “I’m not against the word, and I use it, but not excessively… Quentin is infatuated with that word. What does he want to be made – an honorary black man?”
Lee claimed that Tarantino’s popular work Django Unchained was an insult to his ancestors and was surprised when his frequent collaborator Samuel L. Jackson defended Tarantino’s vision. According to Lee, Tarantino had made multiple films on the basis of the “appropriation of Black culture” which is why deserves to be attacked.
After hearing these comments, Tarantino declared that he would never work with Spike Lee again even if Lee begged for it. Their feud was about to reach new heights when the two ran into each other and Tarantino considered actually engaging in a physical brawl with Lee because he was extremely angry.
“Spike and I bumped into each other once after all that crap was over, and I was all set to kick his ass,” Tarantino revealed. “He attacked me to keep his ‘Jesse Jackson of cinema’ status.” Criticising Lee’s comments, Tarantino claimed that Lee doesn’t have the right to make artistic decisions about other people’s work.
Elaborating on his opinion, Tarantino added: “I wasn’t looking for his approval, and so he was taking me on to keep his status.” The director also attacked the meaninglessness of celebrity feuds while insisting that artistic freedom should always be the top priority when dealing with sensitive socio-cultural issues.