Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino is not backing down from statements he made during a protest against police brutality in New York City. In a new interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, The Hateful Eight director said that the police unions calling for a boycott on his films want to “demonize” him.
“That’s their way. They’re being inflammatory, they’re slandering me,” Tarantino said on All In with Chris Hayes on Wednesday. “I’m not a cop-hater, but that’s the way the attack me is calling me a cop-hater. … It’s much easier to feign outrage and start arguments with celebrities than to deal with the fact that the citizenry has lost trust in them.”
Police unions in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Houston have called for a boycott of Tarantino’s films following his comments at the rally. “I’m a human being with a conscious. And when I see murder I cannot stand by. And I have to call the murdered the murdered and I have to call the murderers the murderers,” he said at the protest, which was organized by a group called Rise Up October. The rally came four days after New York City Police Department officer Randolph Holder was shot in the line of duty, timing Tarantino called “very unfortunate.”
“That officer’s death is a tragedy; I acknowledge that 100 percent, and my heart goes out to him and goes out to his loved ones,” Tarantino said to Hayes. “We had over 40 families … that this has happened to come out and tell their stories and say their loved one’s name. And that’s what’s not being talked about. And so what, because that happened, we’re going to say, ‘Oh no, no, don’t tell your story… It’s just not convenient?'”
In the wake of the rally, Tarantino’s comments drew the ire of NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Patrick J. Lynch, who called Tarantino a “cop-hater,” and asked New Yorkers to “send a message to this purveyor of degeneracy that he has no business coming to our city to peddle his slanderous Cop Fiction.”
The National Association of Police Organizations, which represents over 240,000 law enforcement officers, joined the boycott on Friday. “We need to send a loud and clear message that such hateful rhetoric against police officers is unacceptable,” the NAPO said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Tarantino told Hayes that he was “surprised” by the backlash. He defended his use of the term “murderer,” saying he was talking about specific cases, like those of Sam DuBose, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner. “In those cases in particular, I do believe that they were murdered,” he said.
Tarantino also defended the rally itself as a medium for families of victims of policy brutality to “bear witness to those stories” and put a human face to the statistics, as well as to “demand that the police stop shooting unarmed people.”
And despite the call for boycott, Tarantino said that he has not received pressure from Hateful Eight studio The Weinstein Co. to back down or apologize.
“I’m sure this is a pain in the butt that they wish they didn’t have to deal with,” he said. “At the same time, that same company released the movie Fruitvale Station [about a man who was killed by a police officer]. So they’re very aware of the problem, and they stand behind me.”
The Weinstein Company released a statement Tuesday saying, “The Weinstein Company has a longstanding relationship and friendship with Quentin and has a tremendous amount of respect for him as a filmmaker. We don’t speak for Quentin, he can and should be allowed to speak for himself.”
Tarantino’s comments echo remarks he made to the Los Angeles Times this week, his first public statements on the controversy.
“What they’re doing is pretty obvious,” he said. “Instead of dealing with the incidents of police brutality that those people were bringing up, instead of examining the problem of police brutality in this country, better they single me out. And their message is very clear. It’s to shut me down. It’s to discredit me. It is to intimidate me. It is to shut my mouth, and even more important than that, it is to send a message out to any other prominent person that might feel the need to join that side of the argument.”
See Tarantino’s entire MSNBC interview in the video above. The Hateful Eight is slated to hit theaters on Christmas Day.