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In Cannes, Spike Lee lambasts Trump over Charlottesville

16 May 2018

Spike Lee has unleashed on Donald Trump in an expletive-filled speech, furious at the recent rise of violent white supremacy in the US.

The 61-year-old filmmaker said that following the violence in Charlottesville, the USA president had the opportunity to denounce the Ku Klux Klan and the alt-right. But Trump instead chose to say there was "blame on both sides" in the unrest between the neo-Nazi groups and counter-protesters.

He said Trump - whom he refused to call by name - had "a chance to say we are about love and not hate", and sharply criticized him for not denouncing the KKK. The president should have said, Lee insisted, "that we're better than that".

The acclaimed filmmaker made the comments in an impassioned monologue at a press conference for his latest movie, BlacKkKlansman, at the Cannes Film Festival. Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) becomes the first African-American detective on the Colorado Springs Police Department, but his arrival is greeted with skepticism and open hostility by the department's rank and file.

The film ends with footage from the protests in Charlottesville, where a woman was killed after a man plowed his auto into a crowd of counter-protesters during the "Unite the Right" rally. Now we have our first look at how these events will unfold under Lee's cinematic supervision thanks to the first BlacKkKlansman trailer. Mrs. Bro said, 'Spike, I give you permission to put that in.' Once I got permission, I said, 'Fuck everybody else, that motherfucking scene is staying in the motherfucking movie.' Cuz that was a murder.

"The so-called American cradle of democracy - that's bullshit", he continued. "This is not just something that pertains to the United States of America, this bulls- has gone over the world". The United States of America was built on the genocide of native people and slavery. This right-wing bulls- is not just America, it is all over the world, and we have to wake up. That is the fabric of the United States of America. We can't be silent.

"I told my agents I wanted to be in contention for that part and everyone went, 'Huh?'" the actor told Vulture.

In Cannes, Spike Lee lambasts Trump over Charlottesville