Quentin Tarantino has signalled he will not apologise for a controversial attack on alleged police brutality in the US, while accusing his critics of intimidation tactics.
Tarantino, who has faced calls for a boycott of his films from the five largest American police unions following his appearance at a New York rally last month, told the Los Angeles Times he had a “First Amendment right to protest against police brutality as I see it”, adding, “and I’m not backing down from that.”
He said: “The people who are screaming against me are the mouthpieces for the police. They can call for a boycott. That doesn’t mean that cops are going to respond. Because I actually have a whole lot of fans that are police officers.”
The Oscar-winning film-maker denied accusations that he tarred all US police officers as “murderers” following the rally against police brutality on 24 October, during which he made controversial remarks to a crowd of around 300.
“All cops are not murderers,” he told the Times in his first public comments since the controversy erupted. “I never said that. I never even implied that.”
Meanwhile, the New York Post published a front page comment piece calling on Tarantino to “do the right thing and make a public apology”. The threat of a boycott continued to grow on Monday, with the national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, described as the world’s “largest organisation of sworn law-enforcement officers”, writing to The Weinstein Company’s Harvey Weinstein to declare that the group’s 325,000 members would not be going to see the film-maker’s upcoming western The Hateful Eight.
Bill Johnson, executive director of the US National Association of Police Organizations told the Wrap that his organisation rejected Tarantino’s latest comments. “He makes his living as a master craftsman of scene and setting, for him to claim now that he wasn’t perfectly aware that his message was precisely ‘cops are murderers’ is ludicrous,” said Johnson.
Speaking at the rally in New York, which was organized by a group opposing what it described as a “genocidal assault on black and Latino people in this country”, Tarantino originally stated: “If you believe there’s murder going on then you need to rise up and stand up against it. I’m here to say I’m on the side of the murdered.”
The Weinstein Company broke its silence on the furore yesterday amid unconfirmed reports that some executives are concerned a boycott could hit ticket sales for The Hateful Eight. The studio pointedly refused to back the director’s comments, though it did suggest it would stand by him.
“The Weinstein Co has a long-standing relationship and friendship with Quentin and has a tremendous amount of respect for him as a film-maker,” a spokesperson told the Hollywood Reporter in a statement. “We don’t speak for Quentin; he can and should be allowed to speak for himself.”
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