Quentin Tarantino Defends Cop Comments on MSNBC: I Thought "I Had First Amendment Rights"

Quentin Tarantino MSNBC Still - H 2015

"They stand behind me," the director told Chris Haynes about The Weinstein Co., which is releasing 'The Hateful Eight' next month.

Quentin Tarantino appeared on MSNBC on Wednesday to defend his recent comments about police brutality.

Tarantino told host Chris Haynes that he wasn't making a blanket statement about police but was referring to specific incidents, like those involving the deaths of Sam DuBose and Eric Garner. 

"In those cases in particular that we're talking about, I actually do believe that they were murdered," said Tarantino. "And they were deemed murder." 

Tarantino admitted that he wasn't expecting to experience backlash, with cop unions threatening to boycott his films.

"I was surprised," said the director. "I was under the impression that I was an American, and that I had First Amendment rights, and there was no problem with me going to a police brutality protest and speaking my mind."

"Just because I was at an anti-police brutality protest doesn't mean I'm anti-police," he said. He said he wants to see police "stop shooting unarmed people."

Tarantino explained that the company releasing his forthcoming film The Hateful Eight — which is The Weinstein Co., although he didn't mention the name — has not pressured him into apologizing in order to help the film's box-office potential.

"They stand behind me," Tarantino said, pointing out that the same company also released 2013's Fruitvale Station, about a 2009 incident in which a man was killed by a police officer. 

The controversy stems from Tarantino's involvement in a Oct. 24 rally in New York City against police brutality. "When I see murders, I do not stand by," Tarantino said at the event. "I have to call a murder a murder, and I have to call the murderers the murderers."

Tarantino told The Los Angeles Times on Monday that threats of police boycotts against his films will not coerce him into standing down from his stance. "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," said the director. He continued by saying, "All cops are not murderers. I never said that. I never even implied that."

On Monday, The Weinstein Co. — which is releasing the Kurt Russell-starring The Hateful Eight on Dec. 25 — stood by the filmmaker. “The Weinstein Co. has a long-standing relationship and friendship with Quentin and has a tremendous amount of respect for him as a filmmaker," a Weinstein Co. representative told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement. 

Tarantino's MSNBC interview is below.