Column: Spike Lee and HBO Push Kooky Conspiracy Theories


In March of 2020, HBO aired a Brian Stelter-produced documentary titled After Fact: Disinformation and the Price of Pretend Information, which generally centered on how a “mainstream media” devoted to reality needed to expose and defeat pro-Trump kooks and grifters, like InfoWars claiming the Sandy Hook faculty capturing was faked.  

New York Occasions TV critic James Poniewozik celebrated Stelter, a Occasions alumnus, for his focus: “its strongest animating thought is that pretend information just isn’t merely a political abstraction. It’s an actual offense that harms actual folks.”

In August of 2021, HBO is airing a Spike-Lee produced documentary titled New York Epicenters 9/11-2021½.” Roughly half of the movie is concerning the pandemic, half on 9/11. On the finish of an interview, New York Occasions pop-culture reporter Reggie Ugwu famous: “You interview a number of members of the conspiracy group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Fact. Why did you need to embody their perspective?”

Like a pro-Obama kook, Lee replied “I bought questions,” and he needs a brand new congressional listening to into the origins of 9/11. Like Rosie O’Donnell, he’s implying that the collapse of the Twin Towers was as a consequence of a nefarious Bush-Cheney managed demolition, slightly than the influence of the passenger jets. However he claims “My method is put the data within the film and let folks determine for themselves. I respect the intelligence of the viewers.”

Ugwu tried a pushback. “You don’t say ‘make up your individual thoughts’ about whether or not or not the vaccine is poison, or ‘make up your individual thoughts’ about whether or not Joe Biden was legitimately elected.”

Lee wasn’t going to be shamed with the pro-Trump conspiracies: “Individuals are going to suppose what they suppose, regardless. I’m not dancing round your query,” which he completely was. “Individuals are going to simply suppose what they suppose. And you understand what? I’m nonetheless right here, happening 4 a long time of filmmaking.”

Finally, Ugwu and the Occasions granted Lee the chance to advertise his spectacle and his profession. When pro-lifers made the film Unplanned, Ugwu insisted “In fact, no movie is entitled to media publicity.” However progressive black filmmakers can depend on sympathetic publicity in The New York Occasions, regardless of their slogan “The reality is extra vital than ever.”

This isn’t the primary time HBO has signed up Spike Lee to advertise nutball conspiracy theories. In 2006, they aired Lee’s movie on Hurricane Katrina, When the Levees Broke. Lee entertained the conspiracy concept that the federal government blew up the levees. Then-HBO Documentary Movies president Sheila Nevins made excuses to NPR: “He is not reporting, he is not on digital camera, he does not have the accountability to interpret for them. He solely has the accountability to current for them their disillusionment and possibly their slight inaccuracies.”

The federal government blowing up levees in some sort of racist plot is a “slight inaccuracy”?

Dani Di Placido at Forbes underlined each of those Lee HBO movies “have been closely praised by critics and audiences; neither of the documentaries are outlined by their conspiratorial leanings.”

Lee additionally mangles actuality outdoors of his movies. In 2012, he needed to pay a few senior residents in Sanford, Florida for inaccurately retweeting their handle within the perception it was the house of George Zimmerman, the vigilante who shot black teenager Trayvon Martin after a violent scuffle.

In impact, Lee resembles a cinematic Al Sharpton – it doesn’t matter what sort of unproven conspiracy theories he’s pushing, or who that hurts. He’s a rich black superstar “down with the wrestle,” so all is forgiven, over and over.