Spike Lee tore into President Donald Trump Tuesday during a fiery press conference at the Cannes Film Festival.
Following the world premiere of his new drama BlacKkKlansman, Lee and the cast sat down for a Q&A about the film.
While he refused to mention Trump by name, Lee blasted the president for failing to denounce white supremacists after the “Unite the Right” rally last summer in Charlottesville, Virginia that left a counter-protester dead.
Trump sparked outrage when he refused to blame white nationalists and neo-Nazis for the bloodshed, and said there “were very fine people on both sides” of the protest.
Lee criticized the president for not denouncing hate.
“We have a guy in the White House, I’m not gonna say his f—ing name, whose defining moment, it was not just for Americans but for the world, and that motherfu—er was given the chance to say we are about love and not hate,” Lee said.
“And That motherf—er did not denounce the motherf—ing Klan, the alt-right, and those Nazi motherf—ers. It was a defining moment, and he could have said to the world, not just the United States, that we were better than that,” he continued.
BlacKkKlansman is based on the true story of African-American detective Ron Stallworth who came up with a plan to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s.
Stallworth is played by Denzel Washington’s son, John David Washington. Adam Driver portrays the white cop tasked with going inside the KKK.
According to reports from the festival, the film ends with footage of the Charlottesville rally, which claimed the life of counter-protester Heather Heyer. The 32-year-old Virginia native was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters gathered to oppose the rally. Lee said Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, gave him permission to show the tragic moment when the car came barreling down the street.
The director placed part of the blame on Trump for the country’s current racial climate.
“It’s an ugly, ugly, ugly blemish on the United States of America,” Lee said. “Heather should be alive now. It’s a murderous act.”
Lee said he goes to bed every night worried about the state of the country.
“This motherf—er has the nuclear code… so, this film to me is a wake-up call,” he explained. “Stuff is happening, and it’s topsy-turvy and fake has been trumpeted as the truth. That’s what this film is about.”
Lee said he hopes to raise awareness with his new film, and is not worried about being criticized for taking a stand.
“I know in my heart, I don’t care what the critics say or anybody else. We are on the right side of history with this film,” he added.
Lee later asked the crowd to excuse him for using profanity. But said, “The sh— that’s going on, it makes you want to curse.”
The festival posted video of Lee’s comments on YouTube. You can watch the footage below.