Spike Lee has responded to President Trump’s calling his acceptance speech at the Academy Awards a “racist hit.”
“Well, it’s okee-doke, you know,” Lee told Entertainment Weekly on Monday night. “They change the narrative.
“They did the same thing with the African-American players who were kneeling, trying to make it into an anti-American thing, an anti-patriotic thing, and an anti-military thing,” Lee continued. “But no one’s going for that.”
On Sunday, Lee took the stage to accept his first competitive Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for “BlacKkKlansman” with several pages of prepared remarks. He honored Black History Month and thanked his grandmother — who he said saved up 50 years of Social Security checks to help put him through film school — before turning to politics and the upcoming presidential election.
“The 2020 presidential election is around the corner,” Lee said. “Let’s all mobilize, let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing!”
Trump responded to Lee in a Monday morning tweet, saying it would “be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all, when doing his racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans (Criminal Justice Reform, Lowest Unemployment numbers in History, Tax Cuts,etc.) than almost any other Pres!”
Lee did not specifically reference the president or the administration. But he has long been critical of Trump, whom he often refers to as “Agent Orange.”
In 2018, the director used his promotional tour for “BlacKkKlansman” in part as a platform to blast the president over his response to the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., the year before.
“The president of the United States had a chance to denounce hate,” Lee said on CNN last summer. “The whole world saw what happened, and he didn’t do it.”
Lee said that Trump has given the “green light” to racists through his rhetoric.
“Since [Trump] has gotten into the White House it is not even a dog whistle, it’s a bullhorn,” he said.
“BlacKkKlansman” was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture, but won only the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar. “Green Book” — which was criticized by some, including Lee, for what they called a simplistic depiction of a segregation-era friendship — won Best Picture.
Lee couldn’t hide his disgust, throwing his hands up in the air as the winner was announced, but he was more tempered when asked about it by BBC reporters as he arrived at the Vanity Fair after-party.
“Let me give you a British answer,” Lee said. “It wasn’t my cup of tea.”
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