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‘Sorry to Bother You’ Director Boots Riley Questions ‘BlacKkKlansman’ for Depicting Cops as Heroes Against Racism

Spike Lee's new film tells the true story of a black detective infiltrating a Colorado Springs chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.



Focus Features

Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” tells the true story of a black detective infiltrating a Colorado Springs chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, but not everyone is certain now is the best time for telling stories about heroic police officers. “Sorry to Bother You” writer-director Boots Riley took to Twitter the day after “BlacKkKlansman” opened to question the nature of the film’s narrative.

“After 40 years of cop shows and cop movies, did we really need one more movie where it’s supposed to be about racism but the cops are the actual heroes of the film and the most effective force against racism?” Riley asked. The director noted his tweet was a “rhetorical question,” indicating the answer is “no.”

Riley took down the Tweet, but not before it was screenshot by users. When asked by one follower why he removed the post, Riley responded he wanted to let “BlacKkKlansman” do its “thing at the box office for awhile” and put together one succinct post with all of his thoughts in it. Riley was adamant the tweet was not about competition between “BlacKkKlansman” and “Sorry to Bother You,” and he said his question did not mean he doesn’t have love for Lee. Riley previously showed support for Lee and enthusiasm about seeing “BlacKkKlansman” in theaters in a separate Twitter thread.

“BlacKkKlansman” stars John David Washington as Ron Stallworth, who teamed with two white police detectives in the 1970s to thwart a potential attack from the Ku Klux Klan. Some Twitter users responded to Riley’s question by noting how Lee’s narrative speaks more to different races coming together to defeat racism than it does to simply heroizing police officers. The film does include a racist white cop character who is seen targeting and harassing black students.

“BlacKkKlansman” and “Sorry to Bother You” are now playing in theaters.

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