Bruce Lee's daughter Shannon slams Quentin Tarantino again: 'I'm tired of hearing from white men in Hollywood'
Bruce Lee's daughter Shannon Lee has once again criticized Quentin Tarantino, after the filmmaker dismissed critiques of his depiction of her father in his film, and now novel, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. In a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, Shannon Lee urged the filmmaker to "take a pass on commenting further about Bruce Lee" and expressed frustration with "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," the younger Lee writes in the column, "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 color. 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. 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."
Lee had previously criticized Tarantino's depiction of her father in interviews, calling it "disrespectful" and "a mockery" of his legacy. In Once Upon a Time, Bruce (Mike Moh) challenges stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) to a fight, and, as Shannon Lee told The Wrap in 2019, "comes across as an arrogant a--hole who was full of hot air."
"I understand they want to make the Brad Pitt character this super badass who could beat up Bruce Lee," she added. "But they didn't need to treat him in the way that white Hollywood did when he was alive."
Tarantino has defended himself by claiming that "Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy." He reiterated that argument during a recent appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, citing Lee's perceived "disrespect for [American] stuntmen," and added, "I can understand his daughter having a problem with it. It's her f---ing father. Everybody else: go suck a d---."
In her THR column, Shannon Lee writes, "Why does Quentin Tarantino speak like he knew Bruce Lee and hated him? It seems weird given he never met Bruce Lee, right?... You can imagine by now that I am used to people only seeing one facet of my father and blowing that up into a caricature. That has been happening since shortly after he passed. But usually, somewhere in that caricature is some sort of nugget of love for the man and his work. Not so with Mr. Tarantino."
She goes on to reiterate her criticism of the Once Upon a Time scene as "an uninteresting tear-down of Bruce Lee," and urges Tarantino to take a step back.
"At a time when Asian Americans are being physically attacked, told to 'go home' because they are seen as not American, and demonized for something that has nothing to do with them, I feel moved to suggest that Mr. Tarantino's continued attacks, mischaracterizations and misrepresentations of a trailblazing and innovative member of our Asian American community, right now, are not welcome," she writes. "Mr. Tarantino, you don't have to like Bruce Lee.... 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."