READ: Spike Lee’s Open Letter Promising to Boycott the Oscars: “We Can’t Act?! WTF?!”

READ: Spike Lee's Open Letter Promising to Boycott the Oscars: "We Can't Act?! WTF?!"

Spike Lee joined Jada Pinkett-Smith (“Magic Mike XXL”) Monday in suggesting a boycott of this year’s Oscars, after Thursday’s nominations once again failed to include a single actor of color among the 20 nominees, and both “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton” were left off the list of eight Best Picture contenders. Lee joined Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs in demanding change when he accepted the Academy’s Governors Award in November, to which he refers in an open letter first posted to Instagram.

WATCH: “Governors Awards: Amid Oscar Hoopla, Pleas for Diversity” 

“As I Said In My Honorary Oscar Acceptance Speech, It’s Easier For An
African-American To Be President Of The United States Than Be President Of A
Hollywood Studio,” he writes. “Don’t You Think It’s A Wise Business Decision To Have Your Product And
Workforce Reflect The Diversity Of The Greatest Country On This God’s Earth? I
Ask, What’s The Hold Up?”   

Fresh off the premiere of his critically acclaimed adaptation of “Lysistrata,” “Chi-Raq” (available for free to Amazon Prime members next month), Lee remains one of the most vital voices in American cinema, and for decades he’s known how to cause a stir. (See his controversial classic “Do the Right Thing,” from 1989.) Will his participation turn the boycott into a movement capable of making change? We’ll see. 

Read Lee’s full letter below. 
     

WATCH: “Spike Lee on His Blistering New Film ‘Chi-Raq’: ‘The goal is to save lives'”

#OscarsSoWhite… Again.

I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The
Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For
Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative.
However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar
Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To
My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And
The Academy. But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20
Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let’s Not Even Get Into The
Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can’t Act?!
WTF!!

It’s No Coincidence I’m Writing This As We Celebrate The
30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday. Dr. King Said
“There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe,
Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It’s
Right”.

For Too Many Years When The Oscars Nominations Are Revealed,
My Office Phone Rings Off The Hook With The Media Asking Me My Opinion About
The Lack Of African-Americans And This Year Was No Different. For Once, (Maybe)
I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They
Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed
It Then I Stand Mistaken.

As I See It, The Academy Awards Is Not Where The
“Real” Battle Is. It’s In The Executive Office Of The Hollywood
Studios And TV And Cable Networks. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What
Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To “Turnaround” Or Scrap Heap.
This Is What’s Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With “The Green
Light” Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The
Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, “I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT
HAPPENS”. People, The Truth Is We Ain’t In Those Rooms And Until
Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White.

As I Said In My Honorary Oscar Acceptance Speech, It’s
Easier For An African-American To Be President Of The United States Than Be
President Of A Hollywood Studio. Also The United States Census Bureau Released
A Report Stating White Americans Will Be A Minority In America By The Year
2044. Don’t You Think It’s A Wise Business Decision To Have Your Product And
Workforce Reflect The Diversity Of The Greatest Country On This God’s Earth? I
Ask, What’s The Hold Up? And Please… Don’t Go To The Well And Say There Are
No Qualified Minority Candidates For These Green Light Gate Keeping Positions.

It’s Amazing How Far Sports And Music Have Moved Ahead Of
Hollywood And Television, But Maybe We Can Learn From Them Too. Your Honor, I
Present Exhibit A: The National Football League’s Rooney Rule. It’s Named After
The Late Dan Rooney, Owner Of The Pittsburgh Steelers. Mr. Rooney Was Also
Chairman Of The League’s Diversity Committee.

The Rooney Rule States NFL Teams MUST Interview Minority
Candidates For The Positions Of Head Coach And Senior Football Executives
Before Hires. Since Being Put In Place Before The 2006 Season, African-American
Hires Have Increased. Facebook And Pinterest Have Their Own Version Of The
Rooney Rule To Hire Minorities. Why Can’t Hollywood Do The Same? It’s Worth The
Effort Or It Will Be The Same Old Hi-Jinks. I Do Hope In My Children’s Lifetime
Things Will Change For The Betterment Of All Americans. A Great Diverse
America.

Spike Lee

Filmmaker

Da Republic Of Brooklyn, New York

MLK Day

January 18th, 2016

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Comments

JONNY5

Hey spike your house is bigger then mine, i hope your grateful for those in hollywood who gave you money to make your movies and paid your wages so you can live in a much bigger house then me despite having what would appear to be the same level of talent as i have, which is roughly sod all.

I feel sorry that you and your multi millionaire friends were not acknowledged by the other millionaires.

Gary Nelson

OK Spike, Boycott the Oscars. Nice. Silence your voice. fact is maybe, just maybe, the performances of those nominated out weighed those who performed. This "Ferguson" attitude has to stop if American can once again be a great country. And there are times I wonder if there was ever a time, truly, that America was great. What a disaster the USA had become. Every time someone does not get what they want they cry foul in the Great USA. They play the "race card", they play the "white victim card", where does it end? The USA must be a foundation for right, but it fails year after year. OK,you won’t be at the Oscars. In the totality of the circumstances, you will not be missed.

I relocated to Sweden in 2012. I left because of the "American hypocrisy" and you are yet another example of why I left. I am hopeful that your hypocrisy will enlighten citizens of the USA to what is fundamentally wrong with the USA and they will, in the end, ignore your childish tantrums.

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