While Spike Lee might be sitting out the Oscar festivities next month, the "Chi-Raq" director is not telling others how to handle the controversy surrounding the lack of diversity in the 2016 Academy Award nominations. The filmmaker appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday to clarify some of his criticism of the awards show, including claims that he had called for a boycott of the ceremony and TV broadcast.
"Here’s the thing. I have never used the word boycott," said Lee. "All I said was my beautiful wife Tonya, we’re not coming. That’s it, then I gave the reasons, so I never used the word boycott."
In fact, Lee did not mention the word "boycott" in his statement released on Instagram Monday explaining why he would not be attending the Oscars ceremony. Read a portion of his statement below:
It's no coincidence I'm writing this as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. Dr. King said: ‘There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it's right.' For too many years when the Oscars nominations are revealed, my office phone rings off the hook with the media asking me my opinion about the lack of African-Americans and this year was no different. For once, (maybe) I would like the media to ask all the white nominees and studio heads how they feel about another all-white ballot. If someone has addressed this and I missed it then I stand mistaken.
As for expected Oscars host Chris Rock, Lee told "Good Morning America" that the comedian is a "grown a-- man" and that he would support however Rock chose to handle the tricky situation.
For the second straight year, all of the acting nominees in the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress categories in the Oscars nominations are white. The lack of diversity has led to widespread criticism from some of the biggest names in the business, most recently George Clooney and "12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen.
On "Good Morning America," Lee said outrage over the Oscars is a "misdirection play," explaining that the problem lies further up the chain in the studios where the big movies are greenlit.
"We're not in the room," Lee told the show.
Where will the director be during the Oscars telecast on Feb. 28? He will be in his prized courtside seats at the the New York Knicks game, of course.
"Feb. 28th, [My wife and I will] be at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, to see my beloved orange and blue hopefully beat the Miami Heat," Lee said. "I'm going to the game."