As noted by The Root, the “Sorry To Bother You” director shared the three-page criticism on Twitter on Aug. 17, arguing that Lee’s latest film, inspired by Ron Stallworth, a black cop who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan, pushed “untrue elements that make a cop a hero against racism.”
“It’s a made-up story in which the false parts of it to try to make a cop the protagonist in the fight against racist oppression,” he wrote. “It’s being put while Black Lives Matter is a discussion, and this is not coincidental. There is a viewpoint behind it.”
Riley also called out Lee for his work consulting on an NYPD ad campaign aimed at “improving relations with minority communities.”
“Whether it actually is or not, BlacKkKlansman feels like an extension of that ad campaign,” he wrote.
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Director Spike Lee says that “America first”, Trump’s campaign slogan, was used by the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s, and that “all this stuff has been recycled, repackaged, redefined, but it’s still hate.” pic.twitter.com/2eljsGBMlN
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) August 22, 2018
In a recent interview with The Times, Lee defended the police portrayals in his films.
“Look at my films: they’ve been very critical of the police, but on the other hand I’m never going to say all police are corrupt, that all police hate people of color. I’m not going to say that,” Lee told the U.K. paper.
“I mean, we need police. Unfortunately, police in a lot of instances have not upheld the law; they have broken the law,” Lee continued. “But I’d also like to say, sir, that black people are not a monolithic group. I have had black people say, ‘How can a bourgeois person like Spike Lee do Malcolm X?’
When The Root’s Danielle Young asked Lee about one such scene that gave her pause, he responded:
“If you look the civil rights movement, white people died in Mississippi, Alabama, Kent State during the Vietnam protests. White people have died for justice. So it was not a matter of saying, ‘I can’t put Heather Heyer at the end of the film because she’s not black.”
Citing Adam Driver’s character in BlacKkKlansman as another example, Lee continued, “It’s not a black and white thing for me. Heather Heyer was on the side of truth, of justice.”