Spike Lee says he is not calling for a boycott of this year’s Oscars over the lack of diversity in the nominees, but the filmmaker still says he won’t attend the ceremony.
Speaking on Good Morning America on Wednesday, Lee told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos he plans to be at a New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden in New York when the Academy Awards are handed out on Feb. 28.
“I have never used the word boycott,” Lee said. “I’m not going, my wife’s not going. Everyone else can do what they want to do.”
Asked what he thought Oscars host Chris Rock should do, Lee responded, “He’s going to do what he wants to do, and I support either way.”
On Monday, Lee posted an open letter to his Instagram account decrying the Academy Award nominations, which for the second straight year featured 20 white acting nominees.
“As I see it, the Academy Awards is not where the ‘real’ battle is,” Lee wrote of the issue. “It’s in the executive office of the Hollywood studios and TV and cable networks. This is where the gatekeepers decide what gets made and what gets jettisoned to ‘turnaround’ or scrap heap. This is what’s important. The gatekeepers. Those with ‘the green light’ vote. As the great actor Leslie Odom Jr. sings and dances in the game-changing Broadway musical Hamilton, ‘I wanna be in the room where it happens.’ People, the truth is we ain’t in those rooms, and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain Lilly white.”
Speaking on Wednesday morning, Lee echoed that sentiment. “This whole Academy thing is a misdirection play,” he said. This goes further than the Academy Awards. This has to go back to the [studios].”
Lee is one of a number of prominent filmmakers and stars to speak out against this year’s Oscar nominations, including George Clooney, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Whoopi Goldberg, Lupita Nyong’o, and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs.
“While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion,” Isaacs said in a statement released this week. “This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes.”
Watch Lee’s full interview below.