Spike Lee has commented on racial injustice in America, saying Black people are being “hunted down like animals”.
The director was speaking at the Cannes film festival on Tuesday (6 July), in response to a question at the first day’s press conference about his 1989 film Do the Right Thing.
In one scene in the movie, a young Black man called Radio Raheem is killed by police.
“I wrote it in 1988,” said Lee, who is the president of the jury that will pick the winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or.
“When you see brother Eric Garner, when you see king George Floyd murdered, lynched, I think of Radio Raheem; and you would think and hope that 30 motherf***ing years later, that black people stop being hunted down like animals.”
The statement drew loud applause from the journalists in attendance. Lee was wearing a “1619” cap, in reference to the year the first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia.
He also condemned populist political leaders when answering a question about anti-LGBTQ+ laws in Georgia: “This world is run by gangsters: Agent Orange [Donald Trump], there’s a guy in Brazil and Putin. That’s it: they’re gangsters. They have no morals, no scruples. That’s the world we live in. We have to speak out against gangsters like that.”
Lee is the first Black president of the Cannes jury.
The Cannes film festival runs until 17 July. It opened last night with Annette, starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard.
Read about the most intriguing films on the line-up here.