Spike Lee takes Jackson to task over Obama remarks
Published Friday, July 11, 2008 8:41AM EDT
LOS ANGELES - Spike Lee says the Rev. Jesse Jackson's crudely phrased criticism of Barack Obama won't affect the Democrat's campaign, which the filmmaker expects to succeed at bringing "seismic" change to the world.
"I don't think his (Jackson's) comments help anybody. It's just unfortunate," Lee said after taking part in a Television Critics Association panel.
Lee predicted Obama would be elected in November.
"When that happens, it will change everything. ... You'll have to measure time by 'Before Obama' and 'After Obama,"' Lee said during the panel. "It's an exciting time to be alive now."
The presidency of the first African-American will ripple throughout arts, sports and more, said Lee, whose films include "Malclom X" and "Do the Right Thing."
"Everything's going to be affected by this seismic change in the universe," he said.
Lee attended the TV group's annual summer session to discuss documentaries he's making for ESPN Films, including one about Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Jackson's comment about Obama came last Sunday during a break in Jackson's appearance on Fox News' "Fox & Friends." Unaware his microphone was on, Jackson told a fellow guest that Obama was "talking down" to blacks in speeches on morality at black churches; he also used a slang reference for wanting to sever Obama's testicles.
Jackson apologized Wednesday for "hurtful and wrong" remarks. Obama's campaign offered a low-key response, accepting the apology and defending against the notion that he neglected issues important to blacks.
Lee was more pointed when speaking of Jackson's remarks.
Asked if there was any validity to the criticism of Obama, Lee replied: "No. Here's the thing: I don't know why people are questioning whether Barack Obama is black enough. For me, that's an ignorant statement."
"There are middle-class, educated black people who speak the way he does. ... We have to try to move away from this so-called image of what black is, which is largely influenced by rap and that type of stuff," Lee said.
"I'm for Mr. Obama," Lee said. "I think he's gonna win. And it's going to be a better day not only for the United States but for the world."