Quentin Tarantino on Tuesday spoke out against police groups who called for a boycott of his films after the Oscar-winning director took part in a protest against police brutality last month.
Police unions in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York were critical of the filmmaker's comments at the Oct. 24 rally in New York City, in which he referred to officers as "murderers."
"I am here because I am a human being with a conscience," he told the protesters. "And when I see murder, I cannot stand by and I have to call the murdered the murdered and the murderers the murderers.”
The statement was dubbed "inflammatory and hateful rhetoric" by police groups, who called for people to boycott Tarantino's upcoming film, The Hateful Eight, which is due for release on Christmas Day.
In his first public comments on the controversy, Tarantino told the Los Angeles Times he had never said nor implied that "all cops are murderers," instead accusing law enforcement groups of twisting his comments to deflect from the larger issue.
"What they’re doing is pretty obvious," he told the newspaper. "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."
Tarantino denied he was a "cop hater," calling the term a slanderous misrepresentation of his views.
"But you know, that's their choice to do that to me. What can I do?" he told the Times. "I'm not taking back what I said. 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."
Tarantino's representatives didn't return a BuzzFeed news request for comment.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck dismissed the comments, according to a Los Angeles Times reporter: