Spike Lee won’t engage in public feud with Boots Riley’s BlacKkKlansman’ criticism

Boots Riley claims that Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman includes “fabricated" plot points.

Spike Lee Boots Riley TheGrio
Spike Lee; Boots Riley (Courtesy of Getty)

As The Grio previously reported, Sorry to Bother You director Boots Riley took to social media last week to pop off on Spike Lee for adding fantastical plot points to his latest release, BlacKkKlansman.

In his three-page essay, Riley criticized Lee’s portrayal of police in the 1970s-set film, based on a true story about Black African-American cop Ron Stallworth who infiltrates a Colorado chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

Riley noted in his essay that the film included “fabricated” plot points because the real-life Stallworth infiltrated a black radical group for three years instead of briefly, as the film suggests, reported THR. His critique boils down to the fact that Lee’s movie depicts cops as heroes in the fight against racism. But we all know that’s not the reality for Black Americans.

Asked to share his thoughts on Riley’s post during a recent interview with the U.K.’s Times, Lee said he’s “done” engaging in public feuds with his colleagues.

“I’m a young chap, a young man aged 61, but before I was even a younger chap,” he said. “Now when I get a hint that this stuff is maybe going to dilute the message of my film, I know it is not going to do me any good to comment.”

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But even Stallworth noted to told THR that racism exhibited in America 40 years ago is still alive.

“The racism today is just like it was then. If anything, it’s even worse because Trump has basically allowed racists to come out of the shadows. We need to be vigilant to that and try to address it from a perspective like Spike’s,” he sais. “Trump is an idiot, and his idiocy needs to be brought to the forefront. Spike did a masterful job at capturing that.”

Pressed further on Riley’s assertion that his narrative about the police in the ’70s is inaccurate, Lee said, “Well, I’m not going to comment on that.”

He continued: “Look at my films: they’ve been very critical of the police, but on the other hand I’m never going to say all police are corrupt, that all police hate people of color. I’m not going to say that. I mean, we need police.”