Shocking anyone who’s never seen a Quentin Tarantino movie or heard Quentin Tarantino talk, the director has issued a statement making it clear that he isn’t going to apologize for his comments that led to a police boycott against his upcoming film The Hateful Eight. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times about the boycotts—which stem from an appearance the director made at a rally against police brutality last month, where he told reporters, “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”—Tarantino released the following statement:
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.
And as improbable as the idea of anyone successfully silencing Tarantino might be, it’s hard to fault the Pulp Fiction director’s point. Responses to his statement by various police organizations have been swift and harsh, with police unions from most of America’s major cities—New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston—closing ranks and pledging that their members will avoid the director’s films and refuse their services to any project that he’s involved in. (The national branch of the Fraternal Order of Police, which numbers something like 330,000 officers, has also joined the boycott.)
If Tarantino’s frequent collaborators at The Weinstein Company are put off by those numbers, though, they’re keeping that consternation quiet. The company issued its own statement this afternoon, saying, “The Weinstein Co. 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.”
Speaking of, Tarantino will get a chance to do exactly that on Friday, when he guests on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher. Maher will also be talking to Keith Olbermann and former congressman Anthony Weiner, both of whom will probably be happy to not be the most controversial person on the show for once. Tarantino will presumably take the opportunity to further clarify his statement, reminding people, as he did this week, that, “All cops are not murderers. I never said that. I never even implied that.” Anyone expecting an apology, though, is probably out of luck: “I’m not taking back what I said,” he told The Times. “What I said was the truth.”