Quentin Tarantino Is 'Ill-Informed' for Defending His Violent Movies, Says Harvard Psychologist (EXCLUSIVE)

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A prominent Harvard psychologist has denounced Django Unchained director Quentin Tarantino for defending violence in movies following the Newtown school massacre in Connecticut.

Tarantino, whose credits include movies like True Romance, Reservoir Dogs and Inglourious Basterds, claimed he was "tired" of defending his films each time there was an act of gun violence in America.

“I just think you know there’s violence in the world, tragedies happen, blame the playmakers. It’s a western. Give me a break,” the BBC reported him as saying at a recent New York press junket for Django Unchained, which is nominated for five Golden Globes for 2013.

But Dr. Pamela Cantor, a lecturer in psychology at Harvard Medical School, who is also president of the American Association of Suicide, believes that Tarantino’s comments are inaccurate.

“I don’t agree with his comments. They were glib and ill-informed after that terrible shooting,” Cantor told Celebuzz.

“Big screen movie makers and the media in general have a responsibility here as their depiction of violence and guns are not doing any good because they normalize violent acts making society immune to them.”

Despite Tarantino’s comments about his movie, the studio behind R-rated Django Unchained, The Weinstein Company, cancelled the movie’s Hollywood premiere soon after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in which 20 children and six adults were killed by gunman Adam Lanza.

The red carpet was scheduled at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Dec. 18 in Los Angeles followed by an after-party at the SkyBar on the Sunset Strip.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the tragedy in Newtown, CT, and in this time of national mourning we have decided to forgo our scheduled event,” said a spokesperson for The Weinstein Company.

However, the studio is still going ahead with a private screening for the cast and crew, which includes stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Kerry Washington.

Tarantino’s comments have re-opened the debate about the link between movie violence and real life incidents -- and despite his comments, Dr. Cantor is convinced that the award-winning director is wrong.

“It’s a fact that each time a gun is bought for self-protection it increases the likelihood that the same weapon will be used in a suicide or accidental death by 37 times,” she added.

“There have been too many tragic gun shootings of this type and clearly we need to make changes to the present gun laws, while directors need to be more responsible with the material that they produce which can influence people.”

Following massacre in Aurora, Colo., on July 20 where 12 people were killed and 58 injured by gunman James Holmes, both Hollywood and the Motion Picture Association of America took stock of the situation.

Warner Brothers, the makers of Gangster Squad, starring Ryan Gosling and Sean Penn, pushed back the release of the movie to January 11, 2013 from September 7, 2011.

Studio bosses ordered an entire scene -- where gangsters shoot-up a cinema after blasting their way through the big screen -- to be completely reshot.

And while Tarantino believes blame for violence should fall on those guilty of the crimes, his Django Unchained lead actor Jamie Foxx said he thinks that big screen violence can influence people.

“We cannot turn our back and say that violence in films or anything that we do doesn’t have a sort of influence. It does,” he said during the New York press event.

What to you think … was Tarantino wrong to defend violence in movies? Let us know your thoughts, below.

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  • killbill

    I would love to see Quentin Tarantino direct "Kiddy Kiddy Bang Bang." Tarantino didn't create it though, Dick Jane did. I think Quentin only directs movies he writes, which sucks in this instance. Maybe Robert Rodriguez would want to direct Dick Jane's script if Quentin doesn't want to? Seems up their alley for sure...

  • Dylan Howard
    Dylan Howard

    Hollywood needs to lead on this issue. Agree?

  • Corby Kennard
    Corby Kennard

    Blaming violent films for violence is like blaming the Food Network for obesity.

  • Willodee

    Well, at least when he loves himself, he knows somebody loves him! But does he know for sure that it's "REAL LOVE"?

  • Bree

    Obviously the vast majority of people who watch violent movies do not go on to murder people. Perhaps the fault lies to a much larger extent with the lack of awareness, diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues, some people may be too sensitive or impressionable for violent movies, does that therefore mean we should censor them for everyone? I don't personally enjoy watching mindless violence, but sometimes violence is necessary to convey a message, and I enjoy most Tarantino movies as they tend to have depth which is lacking in most Hollywood films. (if we're attacking senseless violence maybe the meaningless shoot 'em up action films and video games would be more relevant)

  • Corkryn Williams
    Corkryn Williams

    Violent American movies are quite popular in Japan as well, yet they do not have the same mass murder problem that America does. Anyone care to explain that?

  • aymoore

    This is precisely why I don't like Tarantino films! This man uses the fact that violence exists in the world to give himself permission to over-use and glamorize violence in his films to provide a shock-factor and make money. Yes, it's a western, big deal...violence did exist back then too, but you know what? It wasn't on a television every night, shock-jocks weren't on the radio either...it simply wasn't in ones face constantly. I mean, seriously...he's even making a movie called "kiddy kiddy bang bang!!!" Tarantino is the poster child for Narcissism!

  • Willodee

    He's in it for the money. People flocked to hangings, stonings and head choppings, that didn't make it a good thing. Only an idiot would imagine that films, writings, paintings, photos don't affect human behavior. Porn gets the libido going in a lot of people and violence in video games and movies gets people going in that direction; not all of us for sure, but enough of us that we pay a huge price for the freedom to watch and read what ever we want. It makes many of us more accepting of the violence around us. If Tarantino doesn't know what he's doing, he wouldn't know which end of the camera to shoot from, but then that's part of his own personal greed and craziness. The only people that Tarantino fools is those that want to be fooled. I've never seen a character in one of his movies that I wanted to be like or felt much of anything in common with. Empathy is not one of his stronger points.

  • Alex

    Its in a quote, so technically a citation isn't needed, although some follow up journalism is often wise when printing any statistic. There is some merit to the idea, when purely looking at the numbers - when present in close proximity, guns enable certain things to occur that would be much less likely than if they were not in proximity...

  • Dale Hopson
    Dale Hopson

    "Ill-informed"? Doesn't this movie take place when slavery was "legal", but yet features the Klu Klux Klan who organized AFTER the Civil War?

  • Anony Mous
    Anony Mous

    '"It’s a fact that each time a gun is bought for self-protection it increases the likelihood that the same weapon will be used in a suicide or accidental death by 37 times,” she added."' Citation needed. 37 times what? I could say that by picking up my coffee mug I am 37 times more likely to go downstairs and get a cup of joe.

  • Alex

    As a filmmaker, I must say - movies are part of the recipe for a violent society, but not the sole cause. There is a complex relationship there... and we would be wise to be moderate and exercise some measure of restraint in what we put on the screen, given that link.

  • Alex

    Looks should never be held against a person - only actions. Tarantino is talented, but ultimately makes films that are too violent.

  • zk

    I blame Shakespeare. Have you read Hamlet or MacBeth? The violent filth they put out these days...

  • Kahn Keller
    Kahn Keller

    ..does any sane person think movies can actually match the violence and hate and horror that exist in the real world.... so... don't blame movies.... blame real live people.

  • D Porter
    D Porter

    Not only are directors responsible for the violence they put on the screen. Also are actors, who, are idolized by fans, who go and watch such violence, If it wasn't for the greed the actors have for large salaries, and extravagant lifestyles, they are accustomed to, maybe they would have a conscience about the type of movies they are willing to make as well. The whole movie industry is geared toward garbage that overloads the minds of non-caring people!

  • Babs

    he looks like he could be a MASS MURDERER himself