Spike Lee is heading back into the editing room for an episode of his upcoming HBO documentary series “NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½”, after being called out for including interviews with conspiracy theorists in the project.
In the final episode of the four-part series, Lee includes interviews with members of the conspiracy group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, alongside interviews with politicians and people who lost loved ones in the 2001 attack. The fourth episode, set around the stories of New Yorkers and first responders on the ground during the 9/11 terror attacks, is set to premiere on Sept. 11, 2021, which is the 20th anniversary of the tragic event.
Earlier this week, Lee’s comments came under fire after he suggested he had “questions” about the official reporting of the event.
“I mean, I got questions. And I hope that maybe the legacy of this documentary is that Congress holds a hearing, a congressional hearing about 9/11,” Lee said in a new interview with The New York Times this week. During his interview, Lee was pressed on whether he believes explanations in the official 9/11 report, echoing a prominent conspiracy theory about whether jet fuel could have melted the steel beams that eventually lead to the collapse of the Twin Towers.
“The amount of heat that it takes to make steel melt, that temperature’s not reached. And then the juxtaposition of the way Building 7 fell to the ground — when you put it next to other building collapses that were demolitions, it’s like you’re looking at the same thing,” Lee said, amid arguments that discussing conspiracy theories lends credence to them.
After his comments sparked an outcry, Lee released a statement on Wednesday confirming he was editing the episode.
“I’m Back In The Editing Room And Looking At The Eighth And Final Chapter Of NYC EPICENTERS 9/11➔2021½,” Lee said via a statement provided by HBO. “I Respectfully Ask You To Hold Your Judgement Until You See The FINAL CUT. I Thank You.”
In his New York Times interview, Lee said viewers would draw their own conclusions about what was presented in the series.
“But people going to make up their own mind. My approach is put the information in the movie and let people decide for themselves. I respect the intelligence of the audience,” he added. The New York Times reporter questioned the validity of Lee’s statement, pointing out that Lee doesn’t ask people to “make up their own minds” when it comes to other topics backed by scientific evidence, including COVID and vaccines.
“People are going to think what they think, regardless,” he replies. “I’m not dancing around your question. People are going to think what they think.”
The filmmaker adds, “People have called me a racist for ‘Do the Right Thing.’ People said in ‘Mo’ Better Blues’ I was antisemitic. ‘She’s Gotta Have It,’ that was misogynist. People are going to just think what they think. And you know what? I’m still here, going on four decades of filmmaking.”