Director Spike Lee blasted Donald Trump during his passionate speech at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday over his response to the deadly Charlottesville riots.
The “Do The Right Thing” creator performed a pretty explicit monologue at Cannes where he took aim at President Trump over his reaction to last year’s violent white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia that left one woman dead and many others injured. Lee said that following the violence in Charlottesville, the US president had the perfect opportunity to denounce the Ku Klux Klan and the alt-right. However, Trump instead said there was “blame on both sides” between the neo-Nazi groups and counter-protesters. The 61-year-old filmmaker said the commander-in-chief had “a chance to say we are about love and not hate,”.
“It was a defining moment and he could have said to the United States and the world that we’re better than that,” said Lee.
Lee spoke to reporters following the premiere of his new film “BlacKkKlansman” that premiered Monday night at Cannes and reportedly received a standing ovation. The film is set in 1979 and is loosely based on a true story about how a black police detective Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington, Denzel Washington’s son) and a Jewish detective (Adam Driver) worked together to infiltrate a branch of the notorious Ku Klux Klan in Colorado.
“BlacKkKlansman,” is produced by Jordan Peele (director of “Get Out”), and ends with an eye-opening revelation on how the movie connects with modern times. It includes actual footage from Charlottesville, as well as Trump’s televised response. The film ends with an upside-down American flag that fades to black and white.
Lee revealed that he contacted the mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed when she was run over by a neo-Nazi who plowed his speeding car into a group of counter-protestors.
“I was not going to put that murder scene in the film without her blessing,” said Lee.
Lee referred to Charlottesville as an “ugly, ugly, ugly blemish on America,” while making sure to remind the international media at Cannes that the racism depicted in “BlacKkKlansman” doesn’t only exist in the United States.
“This right-wing (expletive) is not just America. It’s all over the world. And we have to wake up,” said Lee. “We can’t be silent. It’s not black, white, or brown. It’s everybody. We all live on this planet, and this guy in the White House has the nuclear code. I go to bed thinking about it.”
Take a look at Spike Lee below.