'A blemish on America': Spike Lee denounces Trump for Charlottesville response

15 May, 2018, 22:24 | Author: Irvin Gilbert
  • A KKK march and rally in Maryland 1998

Spike Lee unveiled his new film "BlacKkKlansman" last night at the Cannes Film Festival and in a passionate monologue slammed the US president without mentioning Donald Trump by name for his reaction to last year's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Actors Laura Harrier, from left, Topher Grace, and director Spike Lee pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film "BlacKkKlansman" at the 71st worldwide film festival, Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 14, 2018.

In the film, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke (Topher Grace) leads "America First" chants and even dreams of putting a white supremacist in the White House one day.

The scene in question, a documentary montage of the Charlottesville rally and counterprotest, includes footage of the death of activist Heather Heyer.

Lee included the footage of the vehicle plowing through the crowd in his film, but said that he first called up Heyer's mother to ask for her permission. "Once I got permission, I said, "Fuck everybody else, that motherfucking scene is staying in the motherfucking movie, '" he said". "He could have said to the world, not [just] the United States, that we're better than that". It's not black, white, or brown.

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Shaking with rage, Lee said Trump's refusal to condemn the deadly far-right protests in Charlottesville last August would be his "defining moment" as United States president.

Variety, which reported on the extended standing ovation the premiere received, also described BlacKkKlansman as "one of few breakout discoveries" of this year's Cannes Film Festival.

The coda to BlacKkKlansman shows the slaying of Heyer, and the injuring of 19 other people, after a man drove his auto into a group of people protesting the "Unite the Right" event that drew hundreds of neo-Nazi, Ku Klux Klan and other so-called "alt-right" supporters to Charlottesville last August.

Lee dedicates the film to Heyer's memory - "Rest in power" - and will release the film in cinemas on the first anniversary of the Charlottesville protests.

"I wanted the hate to be verbalized", he said. The director said the new film's themes are far from restricted to the US. "Produced by the team behind the Academy-Award winning Get Out, Spike Lee uses his trademark take-no-prisoner style and humor to tell this story often missing from the history books".

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