×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘BlacKkKlansman’ Stars on Similarities Between 1970s and Present-Day Racism: Trump ‘Endorses White Supremacy’

The cast of Spike Lee’s latest joint, “BlacKkKlansman,” gathered at New York City’s BAM Harvey Theater on Monday night for the film’s premiere. The stars talked about America’s political state since Donald Trump became president, with many drawing parallels between Focus Features’ crime-drama about race relations and social justice in 1970s America to the present day.

Lee’s film details the real-life heroic events of Ron Stallworth (portrayed by John David Washington), the first African-American to serve on the Colorado Springs Police Department; he launched an undercover operation to infiltrate and expose the hateful messages and violent rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan.

Though set in a different era, Lee includes footage from 2017’s events in Charlottesville, Va., in which a clash between white nationalists and counter-protesters led to the death of social activist Heather Heyer. In the wake of the horrifying events, Trump refrained from denouncing the alt-right while national KKK leader and Trump supporter David Duke insisted these acts represented “a turning point for the people of this country … to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.”

Ryan Eggold, who portrays local KKK recruiter Walter Breachway in the film, chastised the president for emboldening neo-Nazis. “Not immediately condemning white supremacists for attacking people is inexcusable. He encourages division, he encourages hatred towards the media, he encourages people to fight each other at his rallies,” he told Variety.

“I don’t think we would’ve seen what happened in Charlottesville … had we not had a president who basically endorses white supremacy,” said co-star Laura Harrier. “We need to keep making films like this that talk about our current situation and stand up against it and say that this is not okay.”

Washington said footage of the rally in Charlottesville serves as “the connective tissue” between the past and present. “[‘BlacKkKlansman’] is a very influential film about the resurgence of the klan and ending it with [Charlottesville footage] shows we’ve got a long way to go,” he added.

Jason Blum of Blumhouse, one of the four production companies behind “BlacKkKlansman,” encouraged Americans to take action. “We have to all vote and get this maniac out of office so we can go back to normal life,” Blum said, while comedian Tiffany Haddish was tight-lipped on the subject. “I shouldn’t answer that question because that’s going to start some s—,” she exclaimed.

Co-stars Topher Grace and Harry Belafonte were also in attendance at the U.S. premiere, with notable guests including Denzel Washington, Danny Glover, and Danielle Brooks.

More Scene

  • Cara Delevingne attends The Trevor Project's

    Cara Delevingne Recalls Producers Saying That Being Queer Will Hurt Her Career

    Hollywood may be celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month with displays of the rainbow flag and lots of talk about supporting diversity and inclusion, but Cara Delevingne says there’s still work to be done. “Behind closed doors, we are still being told, as I have, by powerful Hollywood producers that we can’t make it if we’re queer,” [...]

  • Kiernan Shipka and Ross LynchMTV Movie

    MTV Movie & TV Awards: What You Didn't See on TV

    Many of the biggest stars in movies and television — including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kiernan Shipka, Sandra Bullock, Tessa Thompson and Brie Larson — came together to present and receive honors at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards, hosted by “Shazam!” star Zachary Levi. And while non-attendees are able to enjoy [...]

  • Dan Stevens

    'Legion' Star Dan Stevens Says His Character Would Fight Thanos, 'Wreak Havoc' in MCU

    Dan Stevens said his powerful, telepathic mutant Legion would do some serious damage if he ever crossed over from the eponymous FX series into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Legion would wreak havoc. He’d probably take on Thanos, let’s see that,” he told Variety on the red carpet at the premiere of the trippy, mind-bending superhero series [...]

  • Anthony Anderson LADF

    Why Anthony Anderson and Billie Jean King are Giving Back with the Dodgers Foundation

    Celebrities and athletes came together at the Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala to celebrate the team’s commitment to supporting youth and to catch a glimpse of the event’s headliner: Bruno Mars. Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss were honored at the fifth annual event, which raised over $3 million for programs benefiting Los Angeles youth. [...]

  • Shia LaBeouf poses at the premiere

    Shia LaBeouf to Host Birthday Fundraiser for Slauson Rec. Theater Company

    Shia LaBeouf is celebrating his 33rd birthday by giving back. The actor, who turned 33 on June 11, will host a fundraising concert later this month for the Slauson Rec Theater Company, a 10-month-old free performing arts program he co-founded in downtown Los Angeles. The night will also include a preview of the Slauson Rec [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content