During an appearance on Good Morning America, Spike Lee said the issue of diversity reaches far beyond the Academy

By Char Adams
Updated January 20, 2016 08:35 AM
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You won’t find Spike Lee at this year’s Academy Awards in Los Angeles – he’ll be on the other side of the country watching a basketball game.

“Feb. 28th, we’ll be at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. I’m going to the Knicks game,” Lee said Wednesday during an appearance on Good Morning America.

The 58-year-old director is among a slew of industry players speaking out about the controversy surrounding the 88th annual Academy Awards due to a lack of diversity among this year’s nominees.

Lee penned a thoughtful Instagram message on Monday, announcing that he will not be attending the 2016 ceremony. However, the director said on GMA that his absence from the event will not be a “boycott” – “I’m not trying to lead a movement.”

“Here’s the thing. I have never used the word boycott. All I said was my beautiful wife and I, Tanya, are not coming,” he said. “It’s like, do you. I’m not going. My wife’s not going. Everyone else can do what they want to do.”

In addition to Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith has vowed to skip the Oscars. Comedian Chris Rock, who is set to host the event, has himself taken dig at the Academy, describing the Oscars as the “White BET Awards” in a tweet, even as speculation begins to mount whether he’ll pull out as host.

Lee’s take on Rock’s situation? “Chris Rock is a grown a– man. He’s going to do what he wants to do. And I support either way.”

The director said that the issue of diversity stretches farther than the Academy.

“This whole Academy thing is a misdirection play. We’re chasing the guy down the field when he doesn’t even have the ball,” Lee said on GMA. “The other guy’s high-stepping into the end zone.”

“This goes further than the Academy Awards, it has to go back to the gatekeepers.” he said referring to film studios.

“We’re not in the room,” he said. “We are not in the room.”