The pro-police groups that are threatening a boycott of Quentin Tarantino's coming film are using him as a scapegoat, the filmmaker said Tuesday in his first public response to the backlash from comments he made late last month against police brutality. The Academy Award-winning movie director and screenwriter told the Los Angeles Times the groups are using him to divert attention from dealing with the problem of overaggressive police tactics.

"What they’re doing is pretty obvious," Tarantino said. "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."

The controversy took off Oct. 24 in New York City after Tarantino joined a protest against police brutality, at which he noted the spate of deadly police shootings. “And 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,” he said, according to the New York Times.

The rally was part of a series of demonstrations under the Rise Up October banner, intended to bring justice for people killed at the hands of police, the Huffington Post reported. As a result, multiple police organizations, including groups in New York, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Chicago and Philadelphia, have declared a boycott of Tarantino’s coming film, “The Hateful Eight.”

Tarantino said he does not hate police and that he won’t be intimidated by the groups boycotting him. He also did not apologize for the comments.

“I'm not taking back what I said,” Tarantino said Tuesday, the L.A. Times reported. “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 [is] their attack against me is so vicious that they're revealing themselves. They're hiding in plain sight."