Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by Nigel M Smith
August 1, 2013 11:35 AM
54 Comments
  • |

Watch: Spike Lee Fights Back at Kickstarter Criticism on Bloomberg Show, Calls Host a 'Hater'

Spike Lee -- like all celebrity artists who have hit up their fans on Kickstarter to fund new works -- has been levied with a fair share of criticism for using a crowdfunding platform, best known for helping the underdogs make their dreams into realities, to raise $1.25 million for "The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint." With a month left to go to reach his goal, Lee appeared on Bloomberg's business news show "Smart Street" to build awareness. Instead, he was forced to defend himself after host Trish Regan opened the segment by asking what "an Oscar nominated director like Spike Lee with a lot of money" is doing on Kickstarter.

"First of all, you don't know how much money I have," Lee shot back. "You've never seen me before in your life."

He later goes on, after defending his project and method of getting it made, to call Regan a "hater." "Don't worry about haters like her," he says. "We're going to get this. You cannot be for my film if you open the segment like that. That was pure hate."

While we totally see the validity in Regan's criticisms, we're not so sure her opening was the best way to open up an honest conversation. What are your thoughts after viewing the video?

54 Comments

  • mike | September 7, 2013 9:08 AMReply

    I'm guessing Spike could have used the spare change from his 'Miracle at St Anna' legal settlement share to fund his little film. Check out donerlaw and the clients alert section. Remind me again why he's using Kickstarter?

  • SeymourLIFE | August 22, 2013 12:06 PMReply

    CLEARLY, all the arguments against Spike Lee were fueled by the media... AND IT WORKED. All I'm hearing now is a bunch of people complaining and they don't even know how Kickstarter works. So, let me explain... and, PLEASE, correct me if I'm wrong.
    Funders don't go on the Kickstarter website and say, "Gee, I wonder what I should spend my money on today." That rarely (if ever) happens. What REALLY happens is... people launch Kickstarter campaigns using social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. It's a DIRECT line to a fanbase that YOU ALREADY HAVE. Your lesser known documentary doesn't even factor into the equation. This logic that celebrities are taking money away from lesser known independent filmmakers is coming from people who just don't understand Kickstarter. It's not a competition like that. It just doesn't work like that. If anything, these celebrities are getting MORE people comfortable with the idea of crowdfunding. On top of that, you're basically says that funders don't know how to spend their own money responsibly. And THAT'S what'll make indie filmmakers lose funding on their campaigns: no faith in funders. =(

  • Black Kid | August 5, 2013 5:51 PMReply

    I'm a black teenager and I ain't neva heard of no "cr-ah0owd fun...ding" unteel ma brotha Spike Lee introdooced me to it cuz I'ma stupid fuck.

  • black kid | August 5, 2013 5:51 PM

    btw above there that's called sarcasm.
    fuck spike lee.

  • Thug Life | August 4, 2013 12:35 PMReply

    this brotha the shit dawg. I give him my drug money ya know? thug life ma mutha fucka!!!!

  • RJ McHatton | August 3, 2013 7:38 PMReply

    Spike Lee is awesome in explaining the new reality in raising money for artistic projects whether it be films or other forms of art. Spike Lee has always been the champion for the underdog filmmaker and has inspired so many young and old filmmakers to keep the faith and make their art! Thank you Spike Lee for your leadership and inspiration!

  • tina farris | August 3, 2013 7:18 PMReply

    He is correct. He is explaining why he is on Kickstarter. you should go directly to your fan base. How would you know that Spike Lee doesn't give back to other film makers. So presumptuous. He's mostly been an independent film maker.

  • tina farris | August 3, 2013 7:30 PM

    Rob Thomas raised 5million for Veronica Mars the movie. I don't hear anyone talking about that.

  • Ian Nicholson | August 2, 2013 5:54 PMReply

    If he raised the money by conventional means, he'd have to pay it back. By raising the money via Kickstarter, he doesn't.

    It does go against the spirit of Kickstarter and crowdfunding in general.

  • Ian Nicholson | August 2, 2013 5:53 PMReply

    If he raised the money by conventional means, he'd have to pay it back. By raising the money via Kickstarter, he doesn't.

    It does go against the spirit of Kickstarter and crowdfunding in general.

  • SocialThrowAway | August 20, 2013 1:54 PM

    You are absolutely wrong. People are very aware they are "donating" their money through Kickstarter, which I would assume is the spirit of Kickstarter and crowdfunding in general.

    What your proposing (investing and expecting a financial return) is currently illegal (at the moment) to do so on Kickstarter in the US.

  • Charlie | August 2, 2013 5:52 PMReply

    The problem is that Spike reaps all the profits. The people who donate do not get any return if this is a huge success. That is the difference Spike. Investors actually get a return if it's profitable. Please tell us you will donate all the profits from this film to other kickstarter films and we will love you.

  • Sandra Schulberg | August 2, 2013 4:59 PMReply

    I salute Spike for using a crowd-funding model to insure his artistic independence. This is the challenge for all of us indie filmmakers and producers. Spike is one of our proud standard-bearers. He has always been, and I believe always will be, INDEPENDENT. More power to you, Spike! -- Sandra Schulberg, IFP Founding Director

  • BURP | August 2, 2013 12:44 PMReply

    Lee sucked her into helping him to promote his film and raise more money... smart move spike listen and learn folks

  • GERARD KENNELLY | August 2, 2013 11:18 AMReply

    he hated django unchained (when he never even saw it)

    he went to court seeking damages over the channel 'spike tv' ..he thought people would watch it thinking it was about him

    he said there were not enough black soldiers in 'Flags Of Our Fathers'

    by the way i think he is an astonishing director
    i love his movies

    SCHOOL DAZE
    DO THE RIGHT THING

    MO BETTER BLUES
    JUNGLE FEVER
    MALCOLM X
    CLOCKERS
    GET ON THE BUS
    HE GOT GAME
    SUMMER OF SAM

    25th HOUR
    INSIDE MAN
    MIRACLE AT ST ANNA

    RED HOOK SUMMER gonna watch it tonight
    OLDBOY looking forward to it

  • aytug | August 2, 2013 4:12 AMReply

    the host didn't understand what is crowdfunding even a bit. it's a shame.

  • diana | August 2, 2013 1:42 AMReply

    i don't understand what all the fuss is about. if you don't want to support him or his film, DON'T. why must people get their panties in a bunch?

    kickstarter is an open platform. the donors/users have full control over whether they want to donate or not. no one is holding a gun to anyone's head forcing anyone to donate.

    whether you like him or not, spike is right, the industry has changed. the entire system is flawed. so to knock him for what he's doing on kickstarter is shortsighted and obtuse.

    if you don't like what he's doing, demand for the entire industry to be accountable. otherwise, more spike-like filmmakers will head to kickstarter for alternatives. end of story.

  • Joe | August 2, 2013 12:17 AMReply

    I'm definitely going to give to this project now! Spike put these sensationalist, controversy & hate mongers in their place. That opening wasn't cool. Some might say. So what?! Most would say he's been an indie filmmaker for 30years & continues to make amazing films!

  • sally | August 1, 2013 10:31 PMReply

    Jerk. Get some class. Angry little man. I hated him before and I hate him even more now.

  • Peter Castaldi | August 1, 2013 10:06 PMReply

    Go Spike. You are doing the right thing. Look forward.

  • Red Head | August 1, 2013 9:37 PMReply

    I screen tested for Spike for Malcolm X. He is, bar none, the rudest, most arrogant person I have met in my entire career. Sort of glad that the general public is seeing that here. U.G.H. Man needs to learn some manners.

  • Paul | August 1, 2013 9:32 PMReply

    Is he drunk?

  • ben | August 1, 2013 8:17 PMReply

    where is George Zimmerman when we need him....

  • Julia | August 1, 2013 7:30 PMReply

    All he had to do was answer her perfectly reasonable question. He's the one who turned it negative, and his rudeness, and obvious sexism toward a gracious young host, revealed his underlying insecurity and lack of basic manners. I wish he had tried that on someone with a little more experience (imagine talking to Rachel Maddow like that) - he would have had his head handed back to him on a platter. He's a boor, but also a fool, because he only needed to answer the question and spin it his way. Kevin Smith had the same situation and dealt with it quite differently.

  • Film Maker | August 1, 2013 7:25 PMReply

    He's an asshole!!

  • No | August 1, 2013 7:22 PMReply

    I thought Spike Lee's last film "Red Hook Summer" was awful, but I wish him luck in his Kickstarter endeavor.

  • Clip Love | August 1, 2013 6:15 PMReply

    He really treated her like shit. I like him a lot less now.

  • No | August 1, 2013 6:00 PMReply

    I thought Spike Lee's last film "Red Hook Summer" was awful, but I wish him luck in his Kickstarter endeavor. He's right the whole way of financing films has changed. If he introduces people to KS, the more the merrier.

  • Anonymous | August 1, 2013 5:31 PMReply

    The main problem with these kickstarters is that the people behind them are hacks. lol. That is why they have to resort to hocking t-shirts and recorded voicemail messages in the first place. Spike Lee peaked in the mid-90s, but the people behind these other kickstarters were never talented to begin. Anything they make is going to be mediocre or worse.

    However, Spike Lee is at least trying to fund an original project. The kickstarters for the GARDEN STATE sequel and the VERONICA MARS movie were successful precisely because they are not original projects. There are enough movies as it is in theaters based on previously existing franchises or properties. Most people online just would not donate nearly as much to an original project, let alone to a worthy cause like a documentary that brings focus to an important subject or a project that donates any profit made to charity. Also, Lee is asking for less money and has also shown more talent in the past than the people behind those other kickstarters (which is to say, Lee has shown talent, period).

  • Charles C | August 1, 2013 5:00 PMReply

    Obviously, it's dumb to open an interview like that but there are valid questions to be asked about the project. The thing with Kickstarter is once you let Zach Braff or David Fincher use the platform then it's open season to anyone.

    The timing for Spike, in my opinion, couldn't be worse since Oldboy as he mentions in the interview is coming out soon which he probably got bank for. I also don't understand touting that Soderbergh pledged 10k will help make the case for your "little movie that could" storyline. It's like, well why not go back to the Malcolm X model and ask your rich friends to chip in.

    It's all weird but hey, people gotta do what they gotta do to get their movie made and there are people willing to pay the money.

  • Tony F | August 1, 2013 3:58 PMReply

    Spike Lee has always been arrogant. Shows his true colors here. The question is very valid. As soon as I heard about him doing a kickstarter I thought WTF?! It's not meant for people like him. Greed. If his kickstarter was partially funded by him then fair enough.

  • Adam | August 1, 2013 3:58 PMReply

    If Spike's going to turn to the public for cash, he could try and learn a little charm. He comes across here as nasty, angry, rude and thoroughly unpleasant. He could have let the girl finish, turned to her, smiled, and - if he was honest - calmly said, 'yes, some people ARE saying that, but here's why they're wrong'....
    Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

  • Tara | August 1, 2013 3:55 PMReply

    hes a douchebag

  • Aaron | August 1, 2013 3:54 PMReply

    She wants to jump down spike's throat about his kickstarter but I bet she didn't throw shade on those who received money for the Veronica Mars Kickstarter. Hating ass trick.

  • Richard | August 1, 2013 4:23 PM

    The Veronica Mars movie wouldn't have been made without Kickstarter. The studio put money into it on the condition that the rest of it was raised elsewhere, in this case... Kickstarter.

  • brian foxworth | August 1, 2013 3:50 PMReply

    Does he need money! Come one people! Totaly valid question.

  • Joe | August 1, 2013 3:11 PMReply

    You show up begging for money yet you've got enough cash to pay $7,000 for two Knicks front row seats - which comes out to over $300,000 for regular season (and worthless preseason) games. At that point, the reporter doesn't have to know much about Spike being rich. I don't think anyone working the McDonald's cash register is buying those tickets.

    How did Red Hook Summer do? Spike paid more money to the Knicks than moviegoers spent in tickets. Which answers the question to why he isn't looking for investors and merely people who want prizes for their money. And to "trust him" on the nature of the script. Really? Does that mean he's going to make Cronx?

  • Bob | August 1, 2013 2:54 PMReply

    That trish chick is hot. Who is the guy in the hat?

  • Eric | August 1, 2013 3:45 PM

    Rodney Dangerfield.

  • Bob | August 1, 2013 2:54 PMReply

    That trish chick is hot. Who is the guy in the hat?

  • Rich G | August 1, 2013 2:50 PMReply

    Spike is right - there's no reason for an interview to open with that line of questioning. He's right, she was trying to make a headline or two and obviously she's been successful. She was totally out of line. Spike has a right to raise money for his projects in any way he sees fit. And by the way, anyone who thought that Kickstarter and Indiegogo and similar sites are there to help unknown filmmakers is a bit delusional. These are serious business enterprises taking a cut of every dollar raised. Of course they welcome Spike Lee. They would love to fund the next Spider Man too.

  • Omar R | August 1, 2013 2:45 PMReply

    The biggest problem I have with Spike Lee's online haters is that they're not concerned about "young" or independent filmmakers. They're concerned with themselves. Spike Lee has been a force for young filmmakers that most in his profession never consider. What have you done lately?

  • Eric | August 1, 2013 3:44 PM

    It's not about being a hater, it's about being real - which Spike Lee isn't. He's mooching and on top of that, he insists that kids from the hood don't understand crowd funding or can't seem to figure it out themselves. Are you kidding me? Spike Lee must not think much them if this is his defense.

  • Christopher T. | August 1, 2013 2:30 PMReply

    That woman was a idiot. She chose to be controversial in a 6 min interview. She must be new at her job because she would have known Timing is Everything! If she'd allowed him to explain what and why he was there before as asking her question. She wouldn't look so much like a fool! Mr. Lee handled the situation wonderfully.

  • Britt | August 1, 2013 2:03 PMReply

    Spike Lee is a JERK! He has a net wealth of over 40 MILLION DOLLARS!!! Put up your OWN money. See this is why "trickle-down" economics and "help the rich by lowering their taxes and they will in turn raise wages". NO, NO, NO, NO, NOOOOOOO!!!! This is a perfect example why you HAVE to legislate compensation, tax the rich MORE, and have unions. What do the rich really do? They hit up the poor for even MORE money! Just like in the medieval times when the king would raise taxes on the poor because he spent all his money. And Spike wants it for a GOTT-DAMM Black Dracula movie. It's already been done, fool! Triflin!

  • Robert Maier | August 1, 2013 5:06 PM

    Spike is an independent filmmaker who can't get a specific work financed by big business. How is he different from other filmmakers? 40 million dollars? When did you see his bank account? Throwing around these kinds of ignorant statements is what bankrupts these kinds of otherwise helpful discussions.

  • Eric N. | August 1, 2013 1:18 PMReply

    Spike Lee is as successful a filmmaker as he is rude and obnoxious. A person this successful shouldn't be using a platform that was originally intended for new or ultra low budget indie filmmakers. Crowd Funding might be a "new wave" but it wasn't intended for established filmmakers to crowd fund a million dollar film. The only reason Kickstarter puts up with it is because they want to get the cut of the money in addition to the celeb name on their list of successfully funded projects.

  • Paul H | August 2, 2013 6:55 PM

    For those claiming "You don't know how much money he has". There is the cool new thing called the internet. just go to celebritynetworth dot com. Old racist Spike is worth $40 million. Pay for your own damn movie, racist.

  • Nora | August 1, 2013 12:31 PMReply

    I'm with Spike. Does she have any idea how many major creative projects by major Hollywood players are currently backed by crowd-sourcing? Only a fool would invest his own cash as a director. She should read a book about filmmaking. But she clearly reads from a script. This is why we need real journalists in the field.

  • Eric N. | August 1, 2013 1:20 PM

    Film Directors who refuse to put their own funds into work annoy me. As a filmmaker, I don't think it's right. Filmmakers need to show their sponsors that they believe in the project by contributing something - even if it's taking scale for their Director's fees or giving up a percentage of the profits to their sponsors. Is Spike giving up any of that?

  • RJ | August 1, 2013 12:19 PMReply

    There seems to be an inordinate amount of criticism being leveled against Spike Lee for his Kickstarter efforts, when other celebrities (Paul Schrader and Bret Easton Ellis immediately come to mind) have also done so. I don't think the criticisms are fair, and it wasn't very smart of the interviewer to begin the piece in the manner that she did. There's room on Kickstarter for a project such as Lee's. Don't participate if you don't support it, but let those who do choose to participate -- including celebrities -- do so.

  • DeborahA | August 1, 2013 12:19 PMReply

    Spike Lee as antagonistic and rude as ever.

    Thanks for asking the questions, Trish.

  • Junder | August 2, 2013 3:09 AM

    But... didn't the reporter initially admit to being antagonistic when she told Spike Lee that she opened the segment in that manner because they're "all about controversy" there on that news program? And why is she saying he has a lot of money?... She should probably revisit those box office numbers. George Lucas can pull millions of dollars out of his pocket to make Red Tails. Not Spike. Not even close. But, so what if he could? I don't see the line of reasoning where he's taking something away from lesser known filmmakers. It sounds like people haven't really thought this thing through.
    In my understanding, people don't go to the Kickstarter site until they have link from someone they know or from searching a topic they're interested in. I don't think they approach the site like, "I have only $1. Now who should I give it to?" That's just not how it goes. If your project is not interesting enough and/or doesn't have a real shot at getting completed, you shouldn't be getting money from anyone. Spike Lee's trying to make a film. We know he's trying to make a film because he's already made several. We also know that most of his films aren't easy to fund.
    At the end of the day, instead of barking at Spike Lee, maybe we should be informing Kickstarter users that we would rather have them fund people that are less famous, less successful. They're likely response would be, "I have a brain and I have some money. Now, why can't I fund whatever the hell I wanna fund???"

  • Robert Maier | August 1, 2013 5:07 PM

    A rude and antagonistic artist is simply an artist you don't agree with.