×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Spike Lee Slams Trump as ‘Motherf—er’ After ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Cannes Premiere

Spike Lee delivered a blistering attack against Donald Trump on Tuesday, refusing to mention the president by name while saying he’d shirked his moral duty to speak out in the aftermath of last year’s deadly riots in Charlottesville.

Appearing at a press conference alongside the stars of “BlacKkKlansman,” which world premiered in Cannes on Monday night, the director said the film was on the “right side of history” while denouncing the president for not taking a firm stance in the wake of violence that erupted following a white nationalist rally, leaving three people dead.

“That motherf—er was given a chance to say we are bout love, and not hate, and that motherf—er did not denounce the motherf—ing Klan, the alt-right, and those Nazi motherf—ers,” he said.

“It was a defining moment, and he could’ve said to the world…that we were better than that.”

“BlacKkKlansman” is based on the incredible true story of black police detective Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s.

Describing it as a “major comeback” for Lee, Variety called the film “as much a compelling black empowerment story as it is an electrifying commentary on the problems of African-American representation across more than a century of cinema.”

Though set in the ‘70s, Lee said it was “our job as filmmakers and storytellers…to connect this period piece to the present day.” He framed the film in the context of the bloody history of a country he said “was built upon the genocide of native people, and slavery,” calling it “the fabric of the United States of America.”

He added, “What’s happening did not just pop up out of thin air.”

Lee recalled watching the Charlottesville violence unfold on CNN while in Martha’s Vineyard, and recognizing “right away” that the footage “had to be my…coda for the film.”

The director got permission from the mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed when a man drove a Dodge Charger into a crowd of protesters, to use footage of her death in the movie. “I was not gonna put that murder scene in the film without her blessing,” he said.

Focus will be releasing “BlacKkKlansman” in the U.S. on the one-year anniversary of the riots, which Lee described as an “ugly, ugly, ugly blemish on the United States of America.”

Calling the film a “wake-up call,” he repeatedly returned to the moral failings of President Trump, while adding that the rise in right-wing hate speech and violence had become a global scourge. “We look to our leaders to give us direction, to make moral decisions, and I like to say this is not just something that pertains to the United States of America, this bulls–t is going all over the world,” he said.

“We have to wake up,” Lee added. “And we can’t be silent.”

“BlacKkKlansman” is peppered with digs at the current president – one KKK member talks about embracing an “America first” policy – while drawing parallels between the rise of Trump and the political aspirations of former Grand Wizard David Duke (Topher Grace). After the premiere, the film received a six-minute standing ovation.

Lee walked the red carpet Monday evening wearing the iconic “love” and “hate” brass knuckles from “Do the Right Thing.” Speaking on Tuesday, he said that while he couldn’t predict the outcome of this year’s mid-term elections – “even though my friends call me Negrodamus” – he still remained hopeful about the future.

“I believe in hope, but I’m not blind or deaf,” he said. “I think that you could be hopeful but still be aware of what’s happening. Too many people walking around in a daze.”

RELATED CONTENT:

More Film

  • Oscar OScars Placeholder

    Cinematographers Praise Academy Reversal: 'We Thank You for Your Show of Respect'

    Cinematographers who fought the decision to curtail four Oscar presentations have praised the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for reversing the exclusions. “We thank you for your show of respect for the hard-working members of the film community, whose dedication and exceptional talents deserve the public recognition this reversal now allows them to enjoy,” [...]

  • Peter Parker and Miles Morales in

    'Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse' Colored Outside the Lines

    The well-worn superhero genre and one of its best-known icons are unlikely vehicles for creating a visually fresh animated feature. But Sony Pictures Animation’s work on the Oscar-nominated animated feature “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” shows throwing out the rule book and letting everyone play in the creative sandbox can pay off big. “I think we [...]

  • Denis Villeneuve

    Denis Villeneuve's 'Dune' Gets November 2020 Release Date

    Warner Bros. has scheduled Legendary’s science-fiction tentpole “Dune” for a Nov. 20, 2020, release in 3D and Imax. “Aquaman” star Jason Momoa is in negotiations to join the “Dune” reboot with Timothee Chalamet, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Ferguson, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac, and Zendaya. Production is expected to launch in the spring [...]

  • James Bond Spectre

    Bond 25 Moved Back Two Months to April 2020

    James Bond will arrive two months later than planned as MGM moved back the release date on the untitled Bond 25 movie from Feb. 14 to April 8, 2020 — a Wednesday before the start of Easter weekend. It’s the second delay for Bond 25. MGM and Eon originally announced in 2017 that the film [...]

  • Fast and Furious 8

    'Fast and Furious 9' Release Date Pushed Back Six Weeks

    Universal Pictures has shifted “Fast and Furious 9” back six weeks from April 10 to May 22, 2020 — the start of the Memorial Day weekend. It’s the second backwards shift for the title. In 2017, Universal moved the film back a year from April 19, 2019, to April 10, 2020. Both dates fall on [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    'Alita' Inching Past 'Lego Movie 2' at Presidents Day Weekend Box Office

    James Cameron’s “Alita: Battle Angel” has a slight edge over “The Lego Movie 2” in a tight race for domestic box office supremacy during Presidents Day weekend. Both are aiming for about $27 million, early estimates showed on Friday. The two titles are the only current bright spots as overall moviegoing for 2019 trails far [...]

  • Ludwig Goransson Black Panther Composer

    Complete Guide to This Year's Oscar-Nominated Scores

    Unlike the song category, it’s impossible to predict the winner from this year’s quintet of original-score nominees. It’s almost anyone’s game. Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson spent a month in Africa recording unusual drums, flutes and vocals, then adding them to a massive London orchestra and choir to create a unique soundscape for the fictional land [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content