All I said was my wife and I are not going. Everyone else can do what they want, the director has explained
Spike Lee has denied that he called for a boycott of the Academy Awards ceremony in the wake of criticism of the Oscars perceived lack of diversity.
In an interview on Good Morning America, the director of Do the Right Thing and Chi-Raq said: Heres the thing. I have never used the word boycott … All I said was, my beautiful wife Tonya [and I], were not coming. Thats it, then I gave the reasons, so I never used the word boycott.
Everyone else can do what they want to do, he added.
In a good-humoured exchange, Lee said he was going instead to a New York Knicks basketball game at Madison Square Garden. However, when pressed, Lee called the Oscars controversy a misdirection play, and said that any protest should instead be directed towards increasing the number of minority ethnic people working in the film industry. It has to go back to the gatekeepers … Were not in the room. The executives, when they have these green-light meetings quarterly where they look at the scripts, they [decide] whos in it and they decide what were making and what were not making.
Lee who has been awarded an honorary Oscar as part of the 2016 roster suggested that Hollywood needs to employ a variant on the Rooney rule, the NFL directive that helped increase the presence of ethnic minorities in coaching and managerial jobs. The rule requires minority ethnic candidates to be interviewed for every advertised job position.
Lee also recalled the Academy Award ceremony in 1989, at which his film Do the Right Thing was passed over for best picture in favour of Driving Miss Daisy. [Do the Right Thing] is being taught in colleges and schools, he said. No one is watching Driving Miss Daisy now. So it also shows you that the work is whats important, because thats whats going to stand for years, not an award.