Bruce Lee's daughter slams Quentin Tarantino over Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

·3-min read
Photo credit: Jamie McCarthy - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jamie McCarthy - Getty Images

Bruce Lee's daughter, Shannon Lee, has criticised Quentin Tarantino for his response to the backlash regarding the famous martial artist and actor's depiction in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.

During the movie's promotional tour back in 2019, the filmmaker seemingly dismissed the criticism over Bruce Lee's inclusion, which sees Mike Moh's version of the marital arts legend get knocked down easily by Brad Pitt's character Cliff Booth in a fight, and suggested that he always knew Lee would take issue with it as "it's her f**king father."

Looking back on the comments made by Tarantino while he appeared on Joe Rogan's Spotify podcast, Lee argued that the Pulp Fiction director's attitude towards Bruce Lee is "weird" considering the pair never met.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

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"As you already know, the portrayal of Bruce Lee in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Mr. Tarantino, in my opinion, was inaccurate and unnecessary to say the least," Lee wrote via The Hollywood Reporter. "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**king tired of white men in Hollywood trying to tell me who Bruce Lee was."

Lee went on to explain how "used" she has become to seeing her father reduced to a caricature since his death in 1973, but that usually, those cartoon-like drawings of him contain "some sort of nugget of love" for him and his work. She argued that she can't say the same about Tarantino's outings.

"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 colour."

In the column, Lee went on to say that while she understands Tarantino was trying to explain that Cliff is "a badass" with that scene, she still believes it was "inaccurate and unnecessary" – a creative device to render Bruce Lee into little more than a "dispensable stereotype".

Photo credit: Tommaso Boddi/WireImage - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tommaso Boddi/WireImage - Getty Images

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She also went on to acknowledge that she does not believe this is true of all of Hollywood stars, but she has seen enough of a pattern to speak out.

"And of course, this doesn't apply to all white men in Hollywood; I've worked with some really wonderful collaborators and partners. But I've come across enough of them over the years (and not just in Hollywood) who want to mansplain Bruce Lee to me and use Bruce Lee when and how it suits them without acknowledging his humanity, his legacy, or his family in the process that a bit of a pattern has emerged.

Lee concluded by saying that, during a time when Asian Americans are being "physically attacked" and "demonised" she felt that "continued attacks, mischaracterisations and misrepresentations of a trailblazing and innovative member of our Asian American community, right now, are not welcome".

Digital Spy has reached out to representatives of Lee and Tarantino for further comment.

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