The daughter of famed martial artist Bruce Lee has fired back at award-winning Hollywood producer Quentin Tarantino following comments he made about her father during a recent appearance on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast.
In a column for The Hollywood Reporter, Shannon Lee ripped Tarantino’s comments to Rogan in defending his portrayal of her father in the 2019 hit film “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood,” which is set for release as a novel.
Warning: Strong language
“…[W]hile I am grateful that Mr. Tarantino has so generously acknowledged to Joe Rogan that I may have my feelings about his portrayal of my father, I am also grateful for the opportunity to express this: I’m really f**king tired of white men in Hollywood trying to tell me who Bruce Lee was.”
During Rogan’s podcast, Tarantino profanely dismissed critics of the film and his portrayal of the late martial artist, while noting that Shannon Lee should be granted an exception.
“Where I’m coming from is … I can understand his daughter having a problem with it, it’s her f**king father! I get that. But anybody else? Go suck a d**k,” the famed director said.
In her column, Shannon Lee continued her pushback, staying with the theme that Tarantino is racist.
“I’m tired of hearing from white men in Hollywood that he was arrogant and an a**hole when they have no idea and cannot fathom what it might have taken to get work in 1960s and ’70s Hollywood as a Chinese man with (God forbid) an accent, or to try to express an opinion on a set as a perceived foreigner and person of color,” she continued.
“I’m tired of white men in Hollywood mistaking his confidence, passion and skill for hubris and therefore finding it necessary to marginalize him and his contributions,” she wrote, adding: “I’m tired of white men in Hollywood finding it too challenging to believe that Bruce Lee might have really been good at what he did and maybe even knew how to do it better than them.”
The controversy stems from a scene in ‘Once Upon A Time…” in which Lee, played by actor Mike Moh, is bested by stuntman Cliff Booth, played by Brad Pitt. The men engage each other in a best two-out-of-three rounds fight while on-set for “The Green Hornet” TV show. Lee gets the best of Pitt’s character in the first round but then is caught flat-footed in the second round as he gets slammed into a car. The third round gets interrupted before it is over.
During Rogan’s podcast, Tarantino “explained that Cliff tricked Bruce by lulling him into a false sense of security during their first scrap, knowing he could successfully counter Bruce’s moves when the martial artist came at him the second time,” Collider reports. “Tarantino acknowledged that Bruce would’ve destroyed Cliff in a proper martial arts competition, but he believes that given Cliff’s background as ‘a killer who killed men in a jungle, he’d kill him’ in a no-holds-barred fight.”
“I really don’t care if you like him or not … in the interest of respecting other cultures and experiences you may not understand, I would encourage you to take a pass on commenting further about Bruce Lee and reconsider the impact of your words in a world that doesn’t need more conflict and fewer cultural heroes,” Shannon Lee concluded in her column.
She used race and ethnicity to express criticism of Tarantino’s portrayal of her father in the past; shortly after the film debuted, she The Hollywood Reporter’s “The Wrap” said it was “disheartening” to see the director depict her father as “an arrogant a**hole who was full of hot air.”
“I can understand all the reasoning behind what is portrayed in the movie,” she said. “I understand that the two characters are antiheroes and this is sort of like a rage fantasy of what would happen … and they’re portraying a period of time that clearly had a lot of racism and exclusion.”
“I understand they want to make the Brad Pitt character this super bad-a** who could beat up Bruce Lee,” she continued. “But they didn’t need to treat him in the way that white Hollywood did when he was alive.”
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