In a guest column published by a website, Shannon responded to Tarantino’s comments about her father while he was on a show earlier this week.
Tarantino was recently asked about the criticism regarding his depiction of Bruce getting easily knocked down by Brad Pitt‘s character Cliff Booth in ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood‘.
Replying to this, the director said, “I can understand his daughter having a problem with it–it’s her f—ing father, I get that. Everybody else: go suck a d—.”
Shannon expressed disappointment about Tarantino’s comments, saying the director had helped Hollywood in perpetuating her father “as a dispensable stereotype.”
“If only he’d take the name Bruce Lee off his lips now,” she wrote, calling Tarantino’s depiction of her father in the Oscar-winning film “inaccurate and unnecessary to say the least.”
About Tarantino’s comment, she further stated, “And while 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—ing tired of white men in Hollywood trying to tell me who Bruce Lee was.”
“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 the 1960s and ’70s Hollywood as a Chinese man with (God forbid) an accent, to try to express an opinion on a set as a perceived foreigner and person of colour,” Shannon continued, as she wrote about her father’s early days in Hollywood.
Saying that she is tired of “white men in Hollywood” mistaking her father’s confidence, passion, and skill for hubris, Shannon added, that they hence found “it necessary to marginalize him and his contributions.”
She further wrote, “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.”
Shannon added, “And while we’re at it, I’m tired of being told that he wasn’t American (he was born in San Francisco), that he wasn’t really friends with James Coburn, that he wasn’t good to stuntmen, that he went around challenging people to fight on film sets, that my mom said in her book that my father believed he could beat up Muhammad Ali (not true), that all he wanted was to be famous, and so much more.”
She noted that she doesn’t believe her grievances apply “to all white men in Hollywood,” but that opinions about her father “might be colored by personal or cultural bias, and that there’s a pattern.”
Speaking about Bruce’s portrayal in the film, she wrote, “Look, I understand what Mr. Tarantino was trying to do. I really do,” Shannon writes. “Cliff Booth is such a bada– and a killer that he can beat the crap out of Bruce Lee. Character development. I get it. I just think he could have done it so much better.”
“But instead, the scene he created was just an uninteresting tear-down of Bruce Lee when it didn’t need to be. It was white Hollywood treating Bruce Lee as, well, white Hollywood treated him — as a dispensable stereotype,” she added.
Shannon, who has managed her father’s legacy for 21 years and wrote the book ‘Be Water, My Friend’ about her father’s teachings, pointed out that Tarantino’s “continued attacks, mischaracterizations, and misrepresentations of a trailblazing and innovative member of our Asian American community” are “not welcome” at a time when Asian Americans are facing increasing racial attacks.
During Tuesday’s episode of a podcast, Tarantino had said the scene is “obvious” in its declaration “that Cliff tricked the character of Bruce, played by Mike Moh. That’s how he was able to do it; he tricked him.”
Tarantino explained the moment is more fleshed out in his new novelization of the film and that Pitt’s character, a stunt double, deliberately manipulates Lee in a way that leads to the moment where the character of Bruce careens into a stationary car.
The ‘Pulp Fiction’ filmmaker also spoke about Lee’s history in the film industry and expressed affection for what he perceived as Bruce’s “disrespect for American stuntmen” working on his films. Tarantino did not note that Lee was Chinese American and born in San Francisco.
“He was always hitting them with his feet, it’s called tagging, when you hit a stunt man for real,” Tarantino told the host.
However, as per another report, Lee’s biographer Matthew Polly previously told that “Bruce was very famous for being very considerate of the people below him on film sets, particularly the stuntmen,” and, with regard to Tarantino’s depiction, “that’s just not who Bruce Lee was as a person.”