Quentin Tarantino dismissed the spate of police boycotts of his upcoming film, The Hateful Eight, telling the Los Angeles Times, “I’m not being intimidated. 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.”
Police departments and unions in New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New Jersey have called for boycotts of The Hateful Eight after the filmmaker spoke out against police brutality at the RiseUp October protest in New York’s Washington Square Park.
“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,” Tarantino said of the backlash. “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.”
In his initial remarks, Tarantino condemned the lack of action being taken to deter brutality and killings of unarmed civilians — often black men — by police officers, saying, “When I see murders, I do not stand by … I have to call a murder a murder, and I have to call the murderers the murderers.” Tarantino was, however, speaking several days after an NYPD officer was shot and killed in pursuit of a suspect, and called that incident “a tragedy, too.”
Still, following his statements, the NYPD’s Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch announced a boycott of The Hateful Eight and called the filmmaker a “purveyor of degeneracy.” Soon after, Los Angeles Police Protective League president Craig Lally said, “Tarantino took irresponsibility to a new and completely unacceptable level this past weekend by referring to police as murderers.” Bill O’Reilly also had some harsh words for the director, as did Tarantino’s own father, who said his son was “dead wrong in calling police officers… murderers.”
Tarantino, however, defended his statements to the L.A. Times and accused the various police organizations of trying to “demonize” him and divert attention from the issue of brutality.
“All cops are not murderers,” Tarantino said. “I never said that. I never even implied that.” He added: “What I said was the truth. I’m used to people misrepresenting me; I’m used to being misunderstood. What I’d like to think their attack against me is so vicious that they’re revealing themselves. They’re hiding in plain sight.”
The Hateful Eight, a Western set in the years after the Civil War, is scheduled to open on Christmas. The film stars Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins and Tim Roth.