In his first remarks on the growing controversy, the Oscar-winning director told the Los Angeles Times that he was not a “cop hater” and that his words had been misrepresented.
“I’m not being intimidated,” Tarantino told the newspaper. “Frankly, it feels lousy to have a bunch of police mouthpieces call me a cop hater. I’m not a cop hater. That is a misrepresentation. That is slanderous. That is not how I feel.”
The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) last week joined calls by police unions in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia for a boycott of Tarantino’s films, including his December release “The Hateful Eight.”
The NAPO also asked officers to stop providing security, traffic control or technical advice for any of the film maker’s projects after Tarantino’s remarks at a New York rally against the killings by police of black civilians.
“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,” Tarantino was quoted as telling protesters from the podium at the rally last month.
“All cops are not murderers,” Tarantino told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday. “I never said that. I never even implied that.”
“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.”
Public outrage over the deaths of black men at the hands of police in New York, Missouri, Baltimore, South Carolina and elsewhere has spurred protests and prosecutions of police nationwide for more than a year.
But Tarantino’s remarks and presence at the October rally, held days after a New York police officer was shot dead while chasing a bicycle thief, have made headline news.
Tarantino’s violent, anti-slavery movie “Django Unchained” won an Oscar two years ago. “The Hateful Eight,” about bounty hunters in post-Civil War Wyoming, opens in U.S. movie theatres on Dec. 25 and is seen as a contender for this year’s Academy Awards.
The calls for a boycott are not expected to have a significant impact on the box office for his films, which are admired in Hollywood but not always big commercial draws.