President Donald Trump has branded film director Spike Lee “racist” for his political Oscars acceptance speech.
The Republican leader called the address, which touched on the United States’ history of racism and slavery, a “hit” on his presidency.
Lee won the award for best adapted screenplay for BlacKkKlansman, and implored the American people to choose wisely in a battle of “love versus hate” and make a “moral choice” in the 2020 election.
The director touched on Black History Month, his own family’s origins in servitude, and the genocide of Native Americans in his speech.
Trump has accused the director of producing a racist diatribe against him, and claimed he has done more for African Americans than almost any other president in US history.
Lee said in his Oscars speech: “We will have love and wisdom regained, we will regain our humanity. It will be a powerful moment. The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let’s all mobilise. Let’s all be on the right side of history.
“Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing.”
The US president tweeted his take on the director’s call for political action against him, and disparaged Lee’s use of notes in his speech.
Trump wrote: “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!”
Lee shared the award for best adapted screenplay with Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott for their work on BlackKklansman. The film tackles the extremism of the far right in the US.
Lee appeared on stage in a purple suit, and shared a hug with Samuel L Jackson, who presented the Oscar.