The director of the racially charged film "Sorry to Bother You" has slammed Spike Lee for portraying police officers in his new true story-based film "BlacKkKlansman" in a positive light.
Fresh off his success among critics (not so much at the box office or among viewers) for his film about a black telemarketer's discovery of the secret to success ("white voice") which leads him to uncovering a capitalist plot to enslave people, director Boots Riley penned a three-page letter denouncing Lee for producing "a made up story in which the false parts of it try to make a cop the protagonist in the fight against racist oppression."
Riley begins by underscoring that he deeply respects Lee and even crediting the director for inspiring him to go to film school. That said, he then explains why believes Lee has sold out to police.
"First, BlackkKlansman is not a true story," he writes. "A story not being 'true' is not necessarily a problem for me. I have no interest in telling them myself at this time, but this is being pushed as a true story and it is precisely its untrue parts that are making a cop into a hero against racism."
"It's a made up story in which the false parts of it try to make a cop the protagonist in the fight against racist oppression," he writes. "It’s being put [out] while Black Lives Matter is a discussion, and this is not coincidental. There is a viewpoint behind it."
That "viewpoint," he alleges, is pro-police.
The real-life officer at the center of the story, Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington), gave his account of his infiltration of the KKK in his 2014 memoir "Black Klansman." In the film, his partner, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) helps him to get inside.
Riley, however, says that the truth is Stallworth was guilty of "sabotaging" a black radical organization in the late '70s.
"The real Ron Stallworth infiltrated a Black radical organization for 3 years ... where he did what all papers from the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (Cointelpro) that were found through the freedom of information act tell us he did—sabotage a Black radical organization whose intent had to do with at the very least fighting racist oppression," says Riley.
The real "villain," he says, is Stallworth because he helped take down radical groups, particularly a black radical group: "Without the made up stuff and with what we know of the actual history of police infiltration into radical groups, and how they infiltrated and directed White Supremacist organizations to attack those groups, Ron Stallworth is the villain. For Spike to come out with a movie where story points are fabricated in order to make a Black cop and his counterparts look like allies in the fight against racism is really disappointing, to put it very mildly."
Riley cites Lee's work with the NYPD in 2016 to improve racial relations as evidence that he's sold out to police and abandoned Black Lives Matter. "By now, many folks know that Spike Lee was paid over $200k to help in an ad campaign that was ‘aimed at improving relations with minority communities,'" writes Riley. "Whether it actually is or not, Blackkklansman feels like an extension of that ad campaign."
Read Riley's full post below: