×
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

  • Steven Spielberg Branko Lustig

    'He Left Me Speechless': Steven Spielberg Remembers Branko Lustig

    Steven Spielberg has offered a touching remembrance of Branko Lustig, the Holocaust survivor who produced “Schindler’s List” with Spielberg and Gerald Molen and died Thursday in Croatia. “I was heartbroken to hear of Branko’s passing and my thoughts are with his family and friends,” Spielberg said. “When we first met to discuss ‘Schindler’s List,’ he [...]

  • Dylan Brosnan and Paris BrosnanGolden Globe

    Pierce Brosnan’s Sons Paris and Dylan Brosnan Named 2020 Golden Globe Ambassadors

    Pierce Brosnan’s two youngest sons, Paris and Dylan Brosnan, have been named as the 2020 Golden Globe Ambassadors, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced on Thursday evening. Paris and Dylan are also the sons of journalist and author Keely Shaye Smith. The ambassador(s), a title that typically goes to the son or daughter of a [...]

  • Joaquin Phoenix'Joker' film premiere, Arrivals, 57th

    Film News Roundup: Joaquin Phoenix Honored by Palm Springs Film Festival

    In today’s film news roundup, Joaquin Phoenix is honored for “Joker”; Legion M backs Joe Manganiello’s “Archenemy”; sales have launched on “Lev Yashin: The Dream Goalkeeper”; Warner Bros. shuffles execs and Universal launches a first-of-its-kind animation writing program. HONOR Joaquin Phoenix has been selected as the recipient of the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s chairman’s [...]

  • Danny Huston

    Danny Huston Discusses the Significance of 'Last Photograph'

    In the decades since Danny Huston made his feature directing debut with “Mr. North,” his 1988 film adaptation of the Thornton Wilder novel “Theophilus North,” he has kept busy in front of the cameras as one of film and television’s most versatile and sophisticated character players. In just the past year, small-screen viewers have been [...]

  • Rocketman

    'Rocketman': Chris Dickens Discusses the Inside Story of Editing 'I'm Still Standing'

    Endings are so important and how the viewer leaves the cinema is crucial. For editor Chris Dickens, finding the perfect ending for “Rocketman” was paramount, but it was also a challenge. Elton John’s hit “I’m Still Standing” was going to end the film with the original idea of going to Cannes to recreate the video [...]

  • A general view of the skyline

    United Media Asia Strikes Deal With Indonesian Giant Kompas Gramedia

    Newly-formed content finance, production and distribution company United Media Asia has struck a first look deal, brokered by Hollywood talent agency CAA, with Indonesian media giant Kompas Gramedia. United has also unveiled its first two feature films. The partnership provides UMA with access to Kompas Gramedia’s media network and its 100,000 pieces of intellectual property, [...]

  • Taron Egerton Fashion

    Taron Egerton's Stylist Used Elton John as Inspiration on Press Tour

    Showstopping looks: For Taron Egerton’s “Rocketman” tour, stylist Gareth Scourfield nodded to Elton John’s iconic wardrobe with bold colors, patterns and silhouettes: “We got a bit more eccentric.” May 16 “Elton is the real original showman,” says Scourfield, who met Egerton through another client, Egerton’s “Rocketman” co-star Richard Madden. “Part of Taron as a man [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content