Spike Lee’s trademark movie was called Do The Right Thing.
He seems to have a tough time doing it himself.
The filmmaker not only did the wrong thing in a big way recently, but he compounded the error by initially refusing to apologize for it.
He used social-media platform Twitter to send his 250,000 followers the Florida address of George Zimmerman – implicated in the high-profile shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old African-American Trayvon Martin.
That would be bad enough, as the only intent of broadcasting the man’s address could be to encourage harassment or vigilantism. But to make matters even worse, Lee sent out the wrong address – one belonging to the venerable parents of another man with the same name.
The couple had nothing to do with the incident and are no relation of the George Zimmerman involved. But after death threats and harassment, the couple – ages 70 and 72 – had to seek seclusion in a hotel. Only heaven knows if they will ever be safe now.
As the couple’s other son has noted, the mistake has endangered an innocent pair to no good end.
“That’s not how we’re going to heal,” the son was quoted. “It’s not (going) to help the Martin family for someone else to be hurt.”
The man who helped cause the social media mob, reportedly a 33-year-old Los Angeles activist, is said to have put out the wrong address and wrote of Zimmerman: “Like the fat punk he is, he still lives at home with mommie & daddy.” And he added this incitement to violence: “Feel free to reach out & touch him.”
This is pure insanity, unbridled hatred and rampant recklessness.
Lee belatedly apologized to the couple after growing calls for it, and compensated them with an undisclosed settlement. But the damage had been done.
Have Spike Lee and others like him simply become what they purport to hate?