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  • Spike Lee at Cannes International Film Festival.

    Spike Lee at Cannes International Film Festival. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 May 2018

"BlacKkKlansman" director Spike Lee talked about racism, Charlottesville and U.S. history during a Cannes press conference.

At a press conference for the 71st Cannes International Film Festival, "BlacKkKlansman" director Spike Lee criticized the United States president, “I am not going to say his fucking name” and talked about racism and the lack of moral leadership around the world.

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"BlacKkKlansman" film is a period piece set in the early seventies that tells the real story of a Black policeman, Ron Stallworth, who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan with the help of a white (Jewish) cop.

During the press conference Lee explained the movie initially had a different ending, which he changed after watching the Charlottesville car attack. He contacted Heather Heyer’s mother to get her “blessing” to include a scene depicting the attack in the film.

The tragedy happened after they had finished filming, but according to Lee the story had to be told. It was his way of connecting the past to the present. “This film to me is a wake up call,” Lee said.

“We look to our leaders to give us direction… and I like to say this right-wing bullshit is all around the world. We have to wake up and we can’t be silent,” an exhausted Lee told reporters.

The segway into Charlottesville made Mr. Lee refer to the White House response to white supremacist violence.

“That mothefucker was given a chance to say we are about love and not hate, and that motherfucker did not denounce the Klan, the alt-right and those nazi motherfuckers,” Lee decried.

Later he mocked the idea of the United States being the cradle of democracy, reminding the crowd “the U.S. was built upon the genocide of native people and slavery. That is the fabric of the United States of America.”

The film has several scenes where members of the Klan can be seen chanting “America first,” and “America for Americans,” two slogans of the U.S. right-wing groups and president.


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