×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

President Trump Takes Aim at Spike Lee Over Oscars Speech

President Donald Trump has slammed Spike Lee hours after the director won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay for “BlacKkKlansman.”

President Trump tweeted that 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…” He went on to talk up his record, saying he has “done more for African Americans” than “almost any other Pres!”

Lee did not directly call out the president in his acceptance speech. He talked about a choice between love and hate and called on people to “mobilize” ahead of the next election. He also talked about black history and his own relatives, notably his grandmother, who he said had put him through college.

“Before the world tonight, I give praise to our ancestors who have built this country into what it is today along with the genocide of its native people,” Lee said. “We all connect with our ancestors. We will have love and wisdom regained; we will regain our humanity. It will be a powerful moment.”

He added: “The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. 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! You know I had to get that in there.”

Trump’s comment drew expressions of anger and astonishment. Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, wrote on Twitter that Trump’s attack on Lee was “despicable.”

“We should not become numb to spectacle and menace of the leader of our country making public attacks on private citizens, especially when based on deliberately false accusations & racism,” she wrote.

“Many will shrug at the President’s twitter attack,” she added. “But when leaders publicly attack artists we should not take it lightly. And when Trump projects his own racism on to an artist who has devoted his career to addressing the truth abt racism we shld take it seriously.”

was making extraordinary films exploring & exposing racism in our country when the President was calling for the execution of African American teenagers who were wrongly accused of a crime they didn’t commit.”

The latter was a reference to the Central Park Five, the five black and Latino teenagers who were wrongfully accused in 1989 of raping a white woman jogger in Central Park. Trump placed full page ads in New York papers at the time, calling for the death penalty. But even after their convictions were vacated based on DNA evidence, and another man confessed to the crime, Trump refused to back away from the claim that they were guilty.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • La vaca

    Alec Baldwin’s El Dorado Boards Debut by Chile’s Francisca Alegria (EXCLUSIVE)

    In what marks the company’s first Latin American project, Alec Baldwin’s El Dorado Pictures has boarded Chilean filmmaker Francisca Alegria’s debut feature, “The Cow Who Sang a Song About the Future.” The multi-Emmy-winning actor and his El Dorado partner Casey Bader will serve as executive producers of the film, slated to start principal photography in [...]

  • Hustlers Box Office

    Box Office: Why 'Hustlers' Soared While 'The Goldfinch' Flopped

    Though STX’s “Hustlers” and Warner Bros.’ “The Goldfinch” couldn’t be more different in terms of genre or style, the two new releases prove the divergent paths that mid-budget movies can take at the box office. Both films arrived last weekend in an environment that has been increasingly hostile to anything that’s not of the superhero [...]

  • The Irishman

    Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman' Set for Centerpiece Screening at Rome Festival

    Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” will be among highlights of the upcoming Rome Film Festival, following its European launch as the closing film at the BFI London Film Festival. As with the Oct. 13 London premiere, key cast members of the hotly anticipated Netflix film are expected to attend the screening in Rome, as is Scorsese. [...]

  • 'Cheer Up, Mr. Lee' to be

    Korean Comedy 'Cheer Up, Mr. Lee' to be Remade in French

    Currently on-release South Korean comedy drama, “Cheer Up, Mr. Lee” is to be remade in French. “Mr. Lee” is the story of a mentally-challenged man who learns that he has a sick daughter, and embarks on a voyage of discovery with his new family member. A remake deal was struck between Yong Film, part of [...]

  • The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos

    Korea: 'The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos’ Rules Chuseok Holiday Box Office

    Local films dominated cinemagoing in South Korea over the 4-day Chuseok holiday weekend, traditionally one of the year’s busiest periods. The winner was “The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos.” Opening on Wednesday, the CJ Entertainment release earned $20.2 million from 1.97 million admissions over five days. A film adaptation of CJ E&M’s 2014 hit TV [...]

  • Disco

    New Europe Sells Toronto and San Sebastian Film 'Disco' to Several Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jan Naszewski’s New Europe Film Sales has signed several distribution deals on “Disco,” which had its world premiere in Toronto Film Festival’s Discovery section and makes its European premiere in San Sebastian’s New Directors competition. The film has been picked up by Palace for Australia and New Zealand, Artcam for Czech Republic and Slovakia, Kino [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content