Quentin Tarantino calls confederate flag the 'American Swastika'

Director Quentin Tarantino © Luke MacGregor
Film director Quentin Tarantino slammed the Confederate flag, an icon of the US south, dubbing it the “American Swastika.”

During an interview with The Telegraph about his latest film The Hateful Eight, Tarantino’s 'fightin’ words' follows on from his strong statements against police brutality in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

READ MORE: ‘I will not be intimidated,’ Quentin Tarantino says in non-apology to police unions

His new western, set shortly after the American Civil War, tells the story of a black Union soldier played by Samuel L Jackson put together with former Confederate soldiers.

Director Quentin Tarantino (L) poses on top of his star with actor and event emcee Samuel L. Jackson © Kevork Djansezian

Tarantino said the shooting of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, which coincided with the filming of The Hateful Eight, sparked a new discussion on the matter.

READ MORE: Ferguson cop who shot Michael Brown testifies before grand jury 

“All of a sudden, people started talking about the Confederacy in America in a way they haven’t before,” he said.

“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***** license plates, and coffee cups and stuff. And people are starting to question about stuff like statues of Bedford Forrest in parks. Well, it’s about damn time, if you ask me.”

© Chris Keane

The Confederates, who many consider to be terrorists and treasonous, declared a rebellion against President Abraham Lincoln and the United States government following a move to stop the expansion of slavery.

It’s been the topic of heated debate in recent times with many viewing it as a symbol of racism and calling for removal of the flag.

Tarantino revealed the incident that hit him hardest was the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in which three men and five women attending a prayer meeting, along with their senior pastor, were shot by a 21-year-old “white supremacist asshole,” as Tarantino put it, “who wraps himself up in the Rebel flag” of the Confederate states.

The events caused Tarantino to edit out a line from his script as he felt it now carried an extra unintended sting - his first act of self-censorship in 25 years as a filmmaker.

Walton Goggins’ sheriff’s speech near the start of the film now ends with the line “when n*****s are scared, that’s when white folks are safe,” but originally it was “you ask the white folks in South Carolina if they feel safe.”