Spike Lee Is Re-Editing An Episode Of His “NYC Epicenters” Docuseries After Getting Shit For Including 9/11 Truthers
It’s fitting that Spike Lee looks like the conductor of the Fuckery Express in that picture above because he recently choo choo’d his way into some controversy and now he’s trying to choo choo his way out of it. Spike Lee made a docuseries for HBO Max called NYC Epicenters 9/11➔2021½, which covers some of the disasters and obstacles that NYC has faced this century, so far. It debuted last week and the episode devoted to the 9/11 terrorist attacks will air closer to the 20th anniversary of 9/11. That’s only a few weeks away and so Spike Lee is now furiously doing the damage control shuffle while re-editing it after getting criticized for including conspiracy theories from 9/11 truthers.
While talking to The New York Times about the 9/11 episode of Epicenters, Spike adjusted his tinfoil hat and said that he too has “questions” when it comes to the conspiracy theory that 9/11 was an inside job. The episode includes conspiracy theories from the group Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth and its founder Richards Gage who peddles the theory that the Twin Towers were brought down by controlled demolition and not hijacked planes. Slate watched the screener of Epicenters‘ 9/11 episode (before it’s been touched by Spike’s re-editing scissors) and they basically say that it should premiere at the bottom of a trash can instead of HBO. The episode features debunked theories from Richard Gage and his group along with info from scientists who thoroughly investigated the attack. It’s apparently a mess.
Lee devotes 30 minutes near the very end of his series to relitigating arguments that have been debunked a thousand times. Specifically, he presents about a dozen conspiracy theorists and members of Gage’s group, including Gage himself, in a back-and-forth with three credible scientists who investigated the 9/11 attacks in a teach the controversy–style format that presents the truth behind 9/11 as an open debate between two equally valid sides. In terms of conveying facts, this is a bit like presenting COVID-19 vaccine skeptics in a debate alongside Anthony Fauci, or Holocaust deniers alongside the Simon Wiesenthal Center, or a clique of climate change skeptics alongside the authors of the United Nations IPCC report.
Spike defended his decision to include 9/11 truthers in his docuseries by saying that he wants to lay everything out for the audience so they can decide for themselves. But Slate says that Spike is pushing the audience more into ConspiracyTheoryVille.
In the documentary, Lee is presented with an explanation of the facts by Shyam Sunder, who led 200 scientists in examining the evidence of the 9/11 attacks to produce a three-year-long, $16 million investigation into the collapse of the World Trade Center for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. When Sunder finishes and says, “Hopefully that answers your question,” Lee laughs and responds, “Well, not really.” Interspersed through that part of the film are Gage and members of his group promoting falsehoods that the buildings could only have been brought down by a controlled demolition, citing faulty premises about “jet fuel” and “evidence of explosions” and repeating the claim that “Building 7 is the smoking gun of 9/11.”
Slate also shook their head at Spike for giving a mainstream platform to Richard Gage who has also said that he thinks COVID-19 is a hoax. This is not the first time that Spike has busted out a conspiracy theory remix of C+C Music Factory’s Things That Make You Go Hmmm… In his 2006 documentary about Hurricane Katrina, he shares the theory that the levees were blown up to flood Black neighborhoods.
After getting shit for putting a spotlight on 9/11 conspiracy theories, HBO Max must have whispered in Spike’s ear, “Do the right thing… for business and change that crap,” because he said in a statement that he’s back to editing Epicenters:
“I’m Back In The Editing Room And Looking At The Eighth And Final Chapter Of NYC EPICENTERS 9/11➔2021½. I Respectfully Ask You To Hold Your Judgement Until You See The FINAL CUT. I Thank You.”
If HBO Max was the one to push Spike back into the editing room to cut some 9/11 truther shit, I’m surprised. Because I watched the last episode of The White Lotus and it’s obvious that they’re not shy when it comes to airing messy shit.