HUFFPOST LIVE
11/06/2015 08:28 am ET

Viggo Mortensen: Police Unions Condone Brutality By Attacking Quentin Tarantino

"That's what they're doing when they go after the messenger like that."

Quentin Tarantino is still in hot water with law enforcement groups after speaking out about police brutality, but Viggo Mortensen told HuffPost Live on Thursday the boycott of Tarantino's new film by police unions is simply "a diversion from what he actually said."

The Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police announced Thursday it would join the National Association of Police Organizations and the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association in their boycott of Tarantino's movie "The Hateful Eight," a response to what police groups call Tarantino's "anti-police rhetoric." Tarantino appeared at a demonstration in October and spoke out against excessive force by New York police. "If you believe there's murder going on, then you need to rise up and stand up against it," Tarantino said at the rally. "I'm here to say I'm on the side of the murdered."

Mortenson told HuffPost Live the boycott is a "smokescreen" to avoid getting into the underlying causes of police officers who abuse their authority. He explained:

As disturbing as the police brutality that we're talking about -- these instances of abuse of power that have unfortunately caused the death of people, unarmed citizens -- as disturbing as that, if not more so in the long run, are the people who are condoning it, these heads of police unions, by going after Tarantino instead of sitting back and going, 'Yeah, we know there are some issues.' It has become endemic because these people are condoning it. That's what they're doing when they go after the messenger like that.

Tarantino defended himself earlier this week, saying his remarks have been taken out of context and that he "never even implied" that all police officers are murderers.

Mortensen added that boycotting Tarantino's art is an ineffective way to further the conversation about police violence in the United States.

"The people attacking him are attacking what he does as a director -- his movies -- on moral grounds, and calling for a boycott of his movies, which I happen to think won't work, and probably more people will see his movie out of curiosity than might have," he said. 

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