Embattled director Quentin Tarantino, facing police boycotts of his upcoming movie The Hateful Eight after speaking out against police brutality, didn’t back down during his appearance on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher Friday, saying that recent accusations made against him by police unions are slanderous. “They’re saying that I’m a cop-hater,” Tarantino said, “which is slander because I didn’t say that. They’re implying that I meant all cops are murderers, and I wasn’t.”

The director went on to say that police too often “protect their own as opposed to putting themselves at the betterment of citizenry.”

“I think it’s inside the institution itself,” Tarantino said after Maher suggested that police departments need to “do a better job of weeding out” the individual personalities that make bad cops. Tarantino countered that that problem is the institutional “blue wall” that protects its own.

Tarantino, repeatedly flashing the peace sign as he walked onstage, made his appearance two weeks after his participation at an October 24 anti-police-brutality rally in New York, during which he told the crowd “when I see murder I cannot stand by. And I have to call the murdered the murdered and I have to call the murderers the murderers.”

Police unions quickly took issue, to say the least, pledging to boycott Tarantino’s Hateful Eight (arriving Christmas day) and branding the director a “cop-hater.” Earlier this week, Jim Pasco, exec director of the Fraternal Order of Police, made the ominous-sounding statement that “something is in the works” against Tarantino.

“Tarantino has made a good living out of violence and surprise. Our offices make a living trying to stop violence, but surprise is not out of the question.” Pasco said the “right time and place will come up and we’ll try to hurt him in the only way that seems to matter to him, and that’s economically.”

Maher commiserated with Tarantino’s recent tribulations, drawing a comparison to his post-9/11 vilification when conservatives labeled Maher as anti-troops. Said Maher, “They lied, and (now) the lie is that you think all cops are murderers, which is not what (your) statement said.”

Tarantino seemed particularly exasperated over the prospect that the controversy will preclude important debate about police brutality. “We need to talk to cops about this,” he said. “We need to get to the problem, we need to bring it to the table.”

The director did manage to inject some humor into the discussion. Reflecting on his beloved 70s-era TV shows like Adam-12 and The Rookies, Tarantino quipped, “They got into fights all the time. If they’d just got out a gun and shot the hippie we would have said, Whoa, what’s going on?”