Director Spike Lee Just Called Out The Academy, Won't Attend The Oscars

Because #OscarsSoWhite should definitely no longer be a thing


It's a sad day when one of the more interesting, celebrated film directors feels that he can't attend an awards ceremony as prestigious as the Oscars.

That is exactly what is happening though. 


Spike Lee, who directed movies such as Inside Man with Denzel Washington as the lead and 25th Hour starring Edward Norton, has this week announced that he and his wife will ategorically not be attending the 2016 Academy Awards.

In a bold statment, which he posted to Instagram and Twitter, the outspoken director stated:

"My wife Mrs Tonya Lewis Lee and I will not be attending the Oscar ceremony this coming February. We cannot support it. And I mean no disrespect to my friends, host Chris Rock and producer Reggie Hudlin, president Isaacs and The Academy, but how is it possible for the 2nd consecutive year all 20 contenders under The Actor Category are white?"


Adding to his argument, Lee called on the words of Martin Luther King, stating: "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it's right."

Delving deeper into the problem, Lee continued: "As I see it, The Academy Awards is not where the 'real' battle is. It's in the executive office of the Hollywood studios and TV and cable networks. This is where the gate keepers decide what gets made and what gets jettisoned."

You can read the full statement on Instagram.

#OscarsSoWhite... Again. I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let's Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can't Act?! WTF!! It's No Coincidence I'm Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday. Dr. King Said "There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It's Right". For Too Many Years When The Oscars Nominations Are Revealed, My Office Phone Rings Off The Hook With The Media Asking Me My Opinion About The Lack Of African-Americans And This Year Was No Different. For Once, (Maybe) I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed It Then I Stand Mistaken. As I See It, The Academy Awards Is Not Where The "Real" Battle Is. It's In The Executive Office Of The Hollywood Studios And TV And Cable Networks. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To "Turnaround" Or Scrap Heap. This Is What's Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With "The Green Light" Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, "I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS". People, The Truth Is We Ain't In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White. (Cont'd)

A photo posted by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on


Spike Lee isn't the first to make this point. Many big film industry names have been taking to Twitter and to the pages of magazines this week to speak out in the name of greater diversity.

Jada Pinkett Smith put out this spirited sequence of tweets:


And actress Chloe Grace Moretz, in an interview with Digital Spy, stated: "We're all so focused on getting more women in film that we're not even talking about the racial issue of getting more diversity in film. It's a much bigger issue because it's just not happening. It's just not a reality."

Do you think the Academy needs to address its lack of diversity ahead of the 2016 Oscars? Let us know on Twitter!


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