Filmmaker Spike Lee weighed in on the death of Michael Brown and said the “uprising” in Ferguson, Mo., is in response to years of racial tension and mistreatment towards the black community in the United States. “When people get to a point — to that tipping point — they can’t take it anymore,” Lee said on CNN on Tuesday, listing the tragedies involving Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Rodney King, and others.
While he seemed to disapprove of looting and burning property, Lee also said that he “just hope[s] that things will really blow up if people aren’t happy with the verdict of this upcoming trial.”
The deaths of Brown, Martin, Garner, and others are extreme examples of a growing trend in America, he continued.
“I just think there is a war on the black male, and it’s tearing the country apart, in my opinion,” Lee said. “It’s not just killing us — it’s educational system, it’s the prison system, it’s these young black men growing up with no hope. It’s systematic.”
Earlier in the interview, Lee also questioned the validity of the account of a friend of Officer Darren Wilson, who killed Brown, which was substantially more favorable to the officer than other witnesses’ accounts. Lee said the timing of the friend’s statement was orchestrated and said she’d been reading from a script.
Lee infamously involved himself in the media frenzy surrounding the 2012 Trayvon Martin case, at one point distributing to his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers what he thought was the address to the house of Martin’s killer. (The address ended up belonging to an elderly Florida couple, who received a series of death threats in the subsequent months.)