Spike Lee Compares Donald Trump to Hitler in Passionate Awards Speech: 'This Is Not a Game'
"This award is deeply appreciated, but we are living in a serious time in America," Spike Lee said during the New York Film Critics Circle Awards
While accepting a special award presented by Martin Scorsese at the virtual show, the Da 5 Bloods director, 63, began his pre-recorded speech — filmed on the day of the Capitol riots on Jan. 6 — by saying it was "a very sad day in the history of America." Lee won the award for his short film, New York, New York.
"The whole world is laughing at the United States of America, the so-called cradle of democracy," Lee said. "This award is deeply appreciated, but we are living in a serious time in America. All of us as true Americans have to really think about what's important. There's no way possible I could go before the iPhone and thank you guys without telling you what's in my heart and my soul as a descendant of slaves who helped build this country."
"We're at the crossroads now," Lee added. "Everyone please be safe, this is not a game."
The award-winning director then slammed Trump, 74. "This president, President Agent Orange, will go down in history with the likes of Hitler," he said. "These guys, all his boys, they are going down on the wrong side of history."
"Thank you for the award," Lee said at the conclusion of his speech. "Peace and love."
Lee's critically acclaimed Netflix film Da 5 Bloods earned two two prizes during the awards show: best actor for Delroy Lindo and best supporting actor for the late Chadwick Boseman.
Lee previously criticized Trump back in 2018 during a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival, where he spoke openly about including footage from the Charlottesville riot in his film BlacKkKlansman.
"We have a guy in the White House — I'm not gonna say his f—ing name — who defined that moment not just for Americans but the world, and that motherf—er was given the chance to say we are about love, not hate," Lee said. "And that motherf—er did not denounce the motherf—ing Klan, the alt-right, and those Nazis 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."
While accepting the Oscar after BlacKkKlansman won Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2019 Academy Awards, Lee urged Americans in his speech to "do the right thing" during the 2020 election.
"The 2020 presidential election is around the corner," he said at the time. "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!"
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For his role in inciting the violent riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 — a failed insurrection that led to the deaths of five people — Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for a second time.
His second Senate trial still looms.
Trump left the White House for good last Wednesday and broke tradition by skipping out on Joe Biden's inauguration. Instead, held a final send-off as he boarded Air Force Once in Washington, D.C., bound for his private Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.