TCA: Spike Lee on the Gulf oil disaster: ‘BP has been lying from the get go’

Spikelee
Spike Lee was putting the finishing touches on his new HBO
doc “If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise” when the Gulf oil spill tragedy
forced him to pick the camera back up.

“We had to rethink everything,” Lee told reporters at the
HBO portion of the TV Critics Assn. press tour.

Lee asked HBO for more funds to finish up the doc – and the
last hour of “If God is Willing,” which airs in four hours on Aug. 23 and Aug.
24, now focuses on the oil spill and BP as a whole.

The “connective tissue” that connects the Hurricane Katrina
and Gulf disasters is greed, he said.

“It was the greed of the U.S. Army Corp Engineers, who cut
corners in the construction of the levee system, that led to the levees
toppling,” he said. “Consequently 80 percent of New Orleans was under water. And it was greed
again that reared its ugly head with BP… there are enough instances where any
time we try to cut corners it ends up biting you in the butt later on.”

What “gets lost in the sauce,” Lee said, is that 11 people
died on the oil platform that collapsed and let to the oil mess.

“We have people who lay down and pray at the altar of the
almighty dollar, and they’ll put their mother on the corner if they have to for
the almighty dollar,” Lee said.

The director said he’s also up in arms over reports that
suddenly much of the oil spill has disappeared from the Gulf.

“We just had the biggest disaster of the world and now all
of a sudden 75% of this oil disappeared?” he asked. “Where the fuck did it go?
I don’t care how many scientists BP buys, that oil did not disappear.
Everything’s all right now? You shouldn’t buy that. BP has been lying from the
get go.”

Like other camera crews, Lee was barred from shooting in certain locations in the Gulf following the oil spill.

“That shows you the power of this company (BP),” he said. “There are certain areas you couldn’t go in by decree of the Coast
Guard.”

“If God is Willing” also heads to Haiti and chronicles the aftermath
of that country’s devastating earthquake. Lee noted the natural relationship
between Port-Au-Prince and New Orleans in making the connection.

Meanwhile, Lee commended both Sean Penn and Brad Pitt for
their work in Haiti and New Orleans, respectively.

Lee noted that Sean Penn has completely moved to Haiti.
“He’s not living in a palace, he’s living in a tent. I slept three nights there.”

Asked about Wyclef Jean’s bid for the Haitian presidency,
Lee said he’d reserve judgement – but will ask Penn for his opinion.

“I only know Wyclef as a musician,” Lee said. “I’ll call
(Penn) up and ask him about it.”

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