During a backstage interview following wins for Best Script and Best Supporting Actor via Christopher Waltz, the director spoke out about the backlash for using the word.
"If somebody is out there actually saying when it comes to the word n—–, the fact that I was using it in the movie more than it was being used in the antebellum south in Mississippi, then feel free to make that case. But no one’s actually making that case. They are saying I should lie, that I should whitewash, that I should massage, and I never do that when it comes to my characters."
The press present was audibly stunned when Tarantino used the word, with one unseen media member letting out a low whistle in surprise.
Django has been met with uproar from civil rights leaders; Spike Lee called the film "disrespectful" before he even viewed it, and Al Sharpton attacked the release of action figures based on the film's characters.
However, Tarantino has welcomed the outbursts, saying it was created a discussion on slavery that has not occurred recently. He said, "I am responsible for people talking about slavery in America in a way they have not in 30 years... There is actually a dialogue going on about slavery right now that has not been happening at all. It's a subject people are afraid to talk about, and now because of this movie people aren't afraid to talk about it. People are talking about it."