“I’m really fucking tired of white men in Hollywood trying to tell me who Bruce Lee was”
Published Jul 02, 2021
Once again, Quentin Tarantino is causing all sorts of drama this week over his portrayal of Bruce Lee in the director’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is now also a novel. Specifically, Tarantino’s choice of words during his appearance on “The Joe Rogan Experience” have once again rattled the daughter of Bruce Lee. As Shannon Lee has bluntly put it: “I’m really fucking tired of white men in Hollywood trying to tell me who Bruce Lee was.”
While speaking to Rogan this week to publicize the newly released Once Upon a Time in Hollywood novel, Tarantino defended his controversial portrayal of Bruce Lee in the director’s 2019 film, saying the late actor “had no respect for American stuntmen.”
“Where I am coming from is, I can understand his daughter having a problem with it. It’s her fucking father. I get that,” Tarantino said. “But anybody else, oh suck a dick!”
Well, Bruce Lee’s daughter definitely does have a problem with it. Following her previous criticism of Bruce Lee’s portrayal — which found him painted as a hugely cocky and arrogant figure — when the film was first released, Shannon Lee has now penned a fiery guest column for The Hollywood Reporter again blasting Tarantino.
Specifically addressing the Joe Rogan interview, Shannon Lee wrote: “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 fucking tired of white men in Hollywood trying to tell me who Bruce Lee was.”
She hardly stops there, though.
“Why does Quentin Tarantino speak like he knew Bruce Lee and hated him?” she writes. “It seems weird given he never met Bruce Lee, right? Not to mention that Mr. Tarantino happily dressed the Bride in a knock-off of my father’s yellow jumpsuit and the Crazy 88s in Kato-style masks and outfits for Kill Bill, which many saw as a love letter to Bruce Lee. But love letters usually address the recipient by name, and from what I could observe at the time, Mr. Tarantino tried, interestingly, to avoid saying the name Bruce Lee as much as possible back then.”
She also addresses the “white men in Hollywood” in general, and the way they treated her father, slamming them for calling her dad “arrogant and an asshole 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…. 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.”
Pointing her attention squarely back on Tarantino, Shannon Lee signs off with this:
Mr. Tarantino, you don’t have to like Bruce Lee. I really don’t care if you like him or not. You made your movie and now, clearly, you’re promoting a book. But 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.
Under the sky, under the heavens, we are one family, Mr. Tarantino, and I think it’s time for both of us to walk on.
You can read Shannon Lee’s entire column for THR here.