Samuel L. Jackson Recounts Racist Moment as a Young Actor

The actor shares what the experience taught him.

In Vanity Fair's Hollywood issue, the 67-year-old star described the incident that occurred while he was doing a play in Santa Monica during a six-week break from filming "Pulp Fiction."

"One night, after the play, I went with some friends to a restaurant down the street, Hugo’s. When we were done, we walked outside and stood on the corner for a while, just talking. All of a sudden, five sheriff's cars screeched up. The policemen surrounded us, guns pointed, lights in our face: 'Get on the ground!' he recalled.

He continued "There we were, lying facedown in the middle of Santa Monica Boulevard. I finally said to the cops, 'Why are you doing this?' One of them said, 'Oh, we got a report of five black guys standing on the corner with guns and bats.' I said, 'So when you pulled up and didn’t see a bat -- I mean, maybe we could’ve had a gun concealed on us, but you didn’t see anything that looked like a bat. What-ever.'"

Jackson said the lesson he learned that day is one he still carries with him.

"I was thinking to myself, I’m in Hollywood now, on the verge of breaking through, and this is still going on," he said. "It kind of put my feet back on the ground in terms of 'O.K., you’re still just another n***** working in town, so you still got to walk softly.' And I still do. Just an object lesson for life in L.A."