Quentin Tarantino calls Confederate Flag an 'American swastika'

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Quentin Tarantino Says He's Not a Cop Hater

Quentin Tarantino thinks it's "about damn time" Americans condemn the Confederate flag as an emblem of racial division and hatred, a symbol he sees as an "American Swastika."

In a recent interview with The Telegraph, the Hateful Eight director minced no words in describing his feelings about the flag and also opened up about the intersection between his brutal new film -- a Western set in the post-Civil War era -- and its increasing relevance to the present American moment.

Tarantino says that he deliberately shaped Hateful Eight to "tap into" modern racial strife and violence and the sense that often "the law" is on the wrong side of justice.

"But then as we were making it," Tarantino tells The Telegraph, "as the events of the last year and a half just kept happening, the movie became more relevant than we ever could have imagined." In particular, Tarantino points to the pervasive unrest that followed the fatal 2014 shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Mo.

Read More: The Hateful Eight' Sweeps Capri-Hollywood Film Fest Awards

But Tarantino says that the event that affected him most deeply was the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, S.C., during which eight African-American parishioners and their pastor were shot and killed during a prayer meeting by -- as Tarantino describes -- "a white supremacist asshole ... who wraps himself up in the Rebel flag."

See photos of Quentin Tarantino attending a recent police protest:

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Quentin Tarantino calls Confederate Flag an 'American swastika'
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Director Quentin Tarantino attends a protest to denounce police brutality in Manhattan October 24, 2015 in New York City. The rally is part of a three-day demonstration against officer-involved abuse and killing. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
US film director Quentin Tarantino (L) takes part in a march against police brutality called 'Rise up October' on October 24, 2015, in New York. Campaigners demanding an end to police killings of unarmed suspects demonstrated and marched through Manhattan. AFP PHOTO/EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
US film director Quentin Tarantino (C) takes part in a march against police brutality called 'Rise up October' on October 24, 2015, in New York. Campaigners demanding an end to police killings of unarmed suspects demonstrated and marched through Manhattan. AFP PHOTO/EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Director Quentin Tarantino holds a banner as attends a rally to denounce police brutality in Washington Square Park October 24, 2015 in New York City. The rally is part of a three-day demonstration against officer-involved abuse and killing. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Director Quentin Tarantino holds a banner as attends a rally to denounce police brutality in Washington Square Park October 24, 2015 in New York City. The rally is part of a three-day demonstration against officer-involved abuse and killing. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
Director Quentin Tarantino, center, participates in a rally to protest against police brutality Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, in New York. Speakers at the protest said they want to bring justice for those who were killed by police. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)
Kimberly Griffin, left, holds hands with film director Quentin Tarantino after she recalled memories of her son Kimoni Davis, during a public reading of the names of people who have died at the hands of police nationwide, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, at Times Square, in New York. The protest marked the start of three days of protests and marches speaking out against violence at the hands of law enforcement. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
US film director Quentin Tarantino takes part in a march against police brutality called 'Rise up October' on October 24, 2015, in New York. Campaigners demanding an end to police killings of unarmed suspects demonstrated and marched through Manhattan. AFP PHOTO/EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
US film director Quentin Tarantino (L) takes part in a march against police brutality called 'Rise up October' on October 24, 2015, in New York. Campaigners demanding an end to police killings of unarmed suspects demonstrated and marched through Manhattan. AFP PHOTO/EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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Tarantino explains that the Mother Emanuel shooting actually brushed up against his fictional story so closely that, for the first time, the unfolding of actual events made a line he had written too obvious: At the beginning of the film, Walter Goggins' sheriff delivers a diatribe that ends with the line, "When n-; are scared, that's when white folks are safe." Originally, the line referenced the sheriff's own killing of blacks during the Civil War, with him instead saying: "You ask the white folks of South Carolina if they feel safe."

The director adds that he was surprised by what happened after the shootings.

"All of a sudden, people started talking about the Confederacy in America in a way they haven't before," says the director. "I mean, I've always felt the Rebel flag was some American Swastika. And, well, now, all of a sudden, people are talking about it, and now they're banning it, and now it's not OK to have it on f--ing license plates, and coffee cups, and stuff.

"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."

Read More: 'The Hateful Eight': Film Review

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