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Spike Lee: I'm Not Homophobic But My Characters Might Be

LeeSpike Lee talks to BET:

First of all, I'm not homophobic. Because I have a character say the word "f----t" or "homo" that does not mean that I'm homophobic.  Martin Scorsese is not racist. The characters are people he grew up with, characters in the mean streets — that's those people talking, not him. In that world, those are the things people say. When I went to Morehouse College that's the way they spoke, thought and talked about homosexuals.

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Comments

  1. Create characters who aren't homophobes, jerk. It's called writing.

    Posted by: Richard | Aug 5, 2013 8:31:35 PM


  2. I mean homophobic characters obviously have their place in fiction, but I'm not going to pretend I've seen enough of his filmography to say whether or not his use of homophobia is fitting/appropriate.

    Posted by: JMC | Aug 5, 2013 8:32:33 PM


  3. Get a life Spike! That's NOT the way we "speak" about homosexuals now. Or do you still approve of using the "N" word in your movies, too?

    Posted by: Joe | Aug 5, 2013 8:41:19 PM


  4. Glorifying evil because of familiarity and popularity.

    Posted by: Kev C | Aug 5, 2013 8:47:23 PM


  5. Lee is a jerk

    Posted by: jaragon | Aug 5, 2013 8:50:12 PM


  6. @Joe, Spike DOES write characters that use the "N" word. (Though he's hypocritical enough to bash Tarantino for using it, but that's another discussion.)

    I think ANY artist has the right to create characters that he/she feels will represent the kind of reality they see in the world. I can't hate on Spike because of that. That being said, I think he needs to be more aware of how he portrays all minorities in general. I think he has a 'tin ear' for Italians and Jews in particular; characters of that kind in his films seem particularly cartoonish and phony to me. Without specific examples (and there probably are some - I don't really like most of his movies or remember them) I don't know that this has been an issue to my recollection.

    Posted by: Princely | Aug 5, 2013 8:55:34 PM


  7. Joe, let's be real. Plenty of people speak exactly this way about us. Including people who "support" gay marriage. And, in this case, including college students at HCBU's (and colleges in general). Of course, that doesn't mean what Spike is saying isn't ridiculous and inconsistent.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Aug 5, 2013 8:56:21 PM


  8. Let's not forget he tried to send a lynch mob after George Zimmerman.

    Posted by: Alan | Aug 5, 2013 8:57:13 PM


  9. It's a perfectly valid distinction. What: are we going to erase all evil, ignorance and racism from art to please a few whiny morons?

    Yeah: Harry Potter fights Lord Voldemort who is... a progressive anti-racist who loves Muggles and abhors all forms of violence and intimidation. Darth Vader has no interest in the Dark Side. All the dragons are vegetarians. Hitler is an anti-Semite.

    Grow up, you cretins: this is art. This kind of thing is what gives us liberals a bad name and makes us look STUPID.

    Posted by: Chaz | Aug 5, 2013 8:57:40 PM


  10. Okay, let's try this again, since we all think that censoring a discussion ABOUT a wrod is acceptable on this website.

    Ahem.

    Saying 'the n-word' is exactly the same as using (INSERT HERE the offensive and very well-known racist epithet that the n-word signifies and which is sitting there in all your heads when you read this).

    Posted by: Chaz | Aug 5, 2013 9:06:09 PM


  11. Bad guys in books and movies can't say nasty things any more. So basically, bad guys in books and movies are now ILLEGAL. No more bad guys. Goodbye all plots and stories. No villains.

    I bet you still have no problem with graphic depictions of murder and violence.

    Posted by: Chaz | Aug 5, 2013 9:07:42 PM


  12. Chaz, the problem is that the characters who use these terms are not bad guys but friends and average people. The banality of evil. Show me one movie where the bad guy is fraking homophobe. Just one!

    Posted by: Kev C | Aug 5, 2013 9:10:34 PM


  13. No offensive but there are a lot of very well-meaning and nice people on this website who seem capable of thinking exactly one step ahead, like a pawn in a game of chess.

    When you demand that people in books and movies stop saying things you don't like or using word you disapprove of, STOP and THINK what that will lead to...

    Think a few spaces AHEAD.

    Like, three, or five.

    Wuh-oh! The END OF ALL FREE EXPRESSION.

    It's not that hard. You don't have to be a chess master.

    Posted by: Chaz | Aug 5, 2013 9:11:31 PM


  14. But no one is advocating censorship. The are advocating better filmmaking. If they wanted to make a realistic and gritty movie, show us the reality that most homophobes are bad guys. Why do filmmakers censor this reality?

    Posted by: Kev C | Aug 5, 2013 9:26:33 PM


  15. But many average people ARE homophobic.

    It's called THE TRUTH and it's a whole lot more important than BEING NICE or NOT OFFENDING YOU.

    Posted by: Chaz | Aug 5, 2013 9:26:34 PM


  16. Oh so now, you have to decide WHO gets to say the 'nasty' or 'unacceptable' things. Maybe we should establish a special government committee to examine each book or movie and decide what words should be used and by whom and in what manner.

    We could call it, oh, I don;t know, maybe...

    THE HAYS CODE.

    LOOK IT UP.

    Posted by: Chaz | Aug 5, 2013 9:28:57 PM


  17. Every year, hundreds of films are made. Show me one where the bad guys are homophobes. Just one, Chaz.

    Posted by: Kev C | Aug 5, 2013 9:30:25 PM


  18. Spurious argument. Name me a movie where the good guys are homophobic.

    And no, 'Every year, hundreds of films are made': every year FIFTY THOUSAND FILMS are made in the USA' and almost NONE of them contain a homophobic slur of any kind.

    The last time I heard the word 'faggot' in a movie, it was Alec Baldwin in The Departed':

    'Wear a wedding ring: lets the other guys l know you're not a faggot'.

    One of the other things I remember THE CHARACTER saying was:

    'God, I LOVE the Patriot Act'.

    Because THE CHARACTER was a huge, sweating, racist, power-crazed, homophobic bully of a corrupt Boston cop.

    THE CHARACTER was, and I would not have had him ANY OTHER WAY. It was a great performance of a great character in the great movie and I LOVED IT.

    Posted by: Chaz | Aug 5, 2013 9:37:37 PM


  19. "When I WENT TO THE PRESTIGIOUS BLACK COLLEGE, SHOWING HOW GREAT I AM, they used that language."
    --- How about a little sign of remorse for those hurt by it?

    Posted by: Bob | Aug 5, 2013 9:38:02 PM


  20. And there is no 'problem'.

    Art

    Reality.

    Learn the difference.

    Posted by: Chaz | Aug 5, 2013 9:42:03 PM


  21. And there is no 'problem'.

    Art

    Reality.

    Learn the difference.

    Posted by: Chaz | Aug 5, 2013 9:42:05 PM


  22. Can anybody here made a coherent argument in favor of censoring works of art that isn't based on an irrelevant dislike for Spike Lee himself. Because guess what: HE DOESN'T MATTER.

    The principle is ALL that matters.

    Posted by: Chaz | Aug 5, 2013 9:43:50 PM


  23. Meh. I'm not a fan of telling an artist what to say or whatever. Orson Scott Card can be as homophobic and outspoken about it as he wants to be. I don't have buy a damn thing the guy creates. If something Spike Lee has created rubs me the wrong way because of the language or depiction of gay characters, then I don't have to support his craft either.

    There is a place for that kind of language in art, though. I doesn't make sense to have a period piece back in the 30's and people saying the "N-word" instead of the actual word due to PC'ness. Same goes with any other derogatory slurs. If Spike Lee is depicting a certain type of people then I'd rather he do it honestly instead of dumbing down due to people being sensitive.

    Posted by: daws | Aug 5, 2013 9:44:03 PM


  24. You people are so wrapped up in your public professions of guilt, your empty apologies, and specious support and meaningless no-risk gestures, and canting, insincere protestations of love from people who don't give a crap about you, that you are no different from those evangelicals that believe that if Senator Buzbert F Bullshitter mentions God enough, he must be a Christian and a godly man.

    Forget the empty rhetoric. Don't demand that people LIE to make you feel good.

    The TRUTH is FAR more important than your or my, or anybody's feelings.

    Posted by: Chaz | Aug 5, 2013 9:48:55 PM


  25. he hasn't made a decent film in over a decade - maybe more - he really got very lucky with his first two projects and has coasted with one crappy film after another
    SL is like woody allen - makes films about new york with no gay people in them
    has he ever had a gay character -
    my guess he isn't cool with gay people - and doesn;t know too many or any -

    Posted by: j | Aug 5, 2013 9:51:13 PM


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