Spike Lee has hit back at Clint Eastwood’s recent suggestion to “shut his face,” by claiming the Oscar winner sounds like “an angry old man.”
“First of all, the man is not my father and we’re not on a plantation either,” he told ABCNews.com. “He’s a great director. He makes his films, I make my films. The thing about it though, I didn’t personally attack him. And a comment like ‘a guy like that should shut his face’ — come on Clint, come on. He sounds like an angry old man right there.”
Lee seemed to start what has now become a public exchange of criticism in May at the Cannes Film Festival, by calling out Eastwood for his lack of black faces in his two World War II films — “Flags of our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima.”
“He did two films about Iwo Jima back to back and there was not one black soldier in both of those films,” Lee told reporters last month. “Many veterans, African Americans, who survived that war are upset at Clint Eastwood. In his vision of Iwo Jima, Negro soldiers did not exist. Simple as that. I have a different version.”
On Friday, Eastwood’s response ran in UK newspaper The Guardian. The veteran actor and director claimed Lee was not up on his facts when he made the comments
Eastwood said there were black troops in Iwo Jima, “but they didn’t raise the flag. The story is ‘Flags of Our Fathers,’ the famous flag-raising picture, and they didn’t do that.”
“If I go ahead and put an African American actor in there, people’d go, ‘This guy’s lost his mind.’ I mean, it’s not accurate,” Eastwood added.
Lee however, told ABCNews.com on Friday, he was up on his WWII knowledge.
“I never said he should show one of the other guys holding up the flag as black. I said that African Americans played a significant part in Iwo Jima,” he said. “For him to insinuate that I’m rewriting history and have one of the four guys with the flag be black … no one said that. It’s just that there’s not one black in either film. And because I know my history, that’s why I made that observation.”
Eastwood also claimed in The Guardian article that Lee had criticized him before.
“He was complaining when I did ‘Bird’ [1988’s Charlie Parker biopic]. Why would a white guy be doing that? I was the only guy who made it, that’s why. He could have gone ahead and made it. Instead he was making something else,” Eastwood said.
The article ended, quoting Eastwood as saying “a guy like him should shut his face.”
Lee, however, took inspiration from the Democratic Presidential hopeful for his final comments on Friday evening.
“Even though he’s trying to have a Dirty Harry flashback, I’m going to take the Obama high road and end it right here,” Lee said. “Peace and love.”