Spike Lee, for that is him the real enfant terrible of Hollywood, spoke out yesterday about the pervading racism in Hollywood.
“It is easier to be President of the United States as a Black person than be the head of a studio,” he said. He repeated that sentence twice before pointing the finger at his own industry for not addressing the problem.
“So we can talk ‘yabba yabba yabba’ but we need to have some serious discussion about diversity and get some flavour up in this. This industry is so behind sports it’s ridiculous.”
The American film director, producer, writer and actor was speaking at the seventh annual Governors Awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science where he was being presented with an honorary Oscar.
This is not the first time the director has slammed his industry, although he praised the Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs for her work in promoting diversity.
After the release of his film Mo’ Better Blues for which he was accused of anti-Semitism, he simply responded that making an anti-Semitic film in Hollywood would prove a difficult fare since Jews run Hollywood. “And that’s a fact,” he added in case his point hadn’t been driven home the first time.
Being a politically-conscious director that explores and examines issues such as race relations and urban crime in his work, Spike Lee doesn’t shy away from putting his finger on the pulse of a matter.
During the Black Lives Matter campaign on social media networks, he expressed his agreement with the campaign but called out his community with this statement: “But you can’t ignore that we are killing ourselves too. We can’t ignore that.”
He had been accused by some in the past of not really understanding the problems of the black community because he lives on Upper East Side of Manhattan with his wife and the lawyer Tonya Lewis as well as the fact that he grew up in a middle class family.
Spike Lee, who received a Peabody in 2011, was being awarded yesterday with the honorary Oscar for his contributions to film.