There probably isn’t one person more outspoken in Hollywood than director Spike Lee.
The diehard New York Knicks fan checked in on Off The Rails on SiriusXM’s TODAY Show Radio on June 9 and in an interview with Al Roker, he discussed ongoing protests against police brutality and racism sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.
“I think that the young people, especially our young generation of white sisters and brothers, they’re joining us,” said Lee.
Lee Compared the Ongoing Protests to the Movement He Saw in 1960s Brooklyn
Lee also said he hasn’t seen such a strong movement in decades. “I haven’t seen that since I was growing up in the 1960s in Brooklyn,” he said.
“So I don’t think this is a fad. I don’t think that this is something people think is hip and cool to be doing. People are out here in the streets and they mean business. … People want changes.”
According to a Wikipedia list of George Floyd protests in the U.S., demonstrators have taken to the streets in at least 750 cities and towns in all 50 states. A Wikipedia page on related protests outside the U.S. cites demonstrations in more than 60 countries on every continent except Antarctica.
Lee Is Concerned That Trump Will ‘Twist’ Calls to ‘Defund the Police’
During the interview, Lee also warned that the “defund the police” terminology could really damage the cause. “Now it gets tricky when they say ‘defund the police,'” he said.
“Because people are not thinking like ‘we don’t need police officers.’ We need police! Let the record state, I’m telling my brother Al Roker we need police, but we need a police system that is just. And it’s so hard with the police unions. I mean they protect their guys, they protect that blue no matter what. And so that has to be dealt with. … They have to be careful with the words because already this guy is running with that. You know the guy I’m talking about. Agent Orange.”
For those tardy to the party: Lee is referring to United States President Donald Trump, and he notes that he’s not pleased with him.
“He’s trying to twist the narrative like they did with Kaepernick and the kneeling,” he said.
“Trying to say that was about disrespecting the flag, but that wasn’t it at all. We’ve got to be careful what we say because one or two wrong words, they’ll twist that thing around and the narratives change. I don’t think people are saying we don’t need police at all, but ‘defund the police’ – I think there [could] be better terminology.”
Lee has been outspoken about Trump in the past. Last month on Sirius Radio, he noted that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should run for president this fall. “I’m proud that he’s my governor,” he said.