Director Spike Lee took home a well-deserved Oscar Sunday night (his first!), and in his acceptance speech, he encouraged voters in next year's presidential election to make the right choice "between love versus hate." Naturally, this triggered President Donald Trump, who felt the seasoned director was taking a swipe at him.
Lee's 2018 film BlacKkKlansman won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. In the acceptance speech, the Atlanta native lauded his ancestral roots and family support as the motivation behind his fearless demeanor.
"My grandmother … who lived to be 100 years young, who was a Spelman College graduate even though her mother was a slave," Lee said onstage. "My grandmother, who saved 50 years of social security checks to put her first grandchild — she called me Spikie-poo — she put me through Morehouse College and NYU grad film. NYU!"
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He closed his remarks by discussing the 2020 election. In addition to encouraging his fellow creatives to "mobilize," he also advocated for them to "do the right thing," a nod to his 1989 Oscar-nominated film Do the Right Thing.
"The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let's all mobilize. Let's all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let's do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there," he said while chuckling.
Of course, Trump took offense to Lee's comments and fired off a tweet criticizing him early Monday morning.
Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all, when doing his racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans (Criminal Justice Reform, Lowest Unemployment numbers in History, Tax Cuts,etc.) than almost any other Pres!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2019
"Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all, when doing his racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans (Criminal Justice Reform, Lowest Unemployment numbers in History, Tax Cuts,etc.) than almost any other Pres!" Trump's tweet read.
Even though Lee made no mention of the current administration, Trump felt the need to discredit the Oscar winner's efforts and was swiftly met with criticism of his own.
Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, chastised the president for making comments about a private citizen, according to Variety.
"Many will shrug at the President’s twitter attack," Ifill wrote. "But when leaders publicly attack artists we should not take it lightly. And when Trump projects his own racism on to an artist who has devoted his career to addressing the truth abt racism we shld take it seriously."
This isn't the first time Trump has reacted to a celebrity's critique about his performance. Per Vox, the commander-in-chief also went on a Twitter rant against actor Robert DeNiro after the fellow Oscar winner said "F**k Trump" while onstage at the Tony Awards in 2018.
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