Spike Lee Accused of Having Anti-Italian Tendencies

October 5, 2015

A leading Italian-American group is accusing Spike Lee of having anti-Italian tendencies amid the flap between the director and Clint Eastwood over a lack of African-Americans in Eastwood's World War II films.

“Spike Lee is very talented, but I sometimes wish he'd practice what he preaches,” said Bill Dal Cerro, president of the Italic Institute of America, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “His points about African-Americans are well taken, but, ironically, he does the same thing to Italians in his films.”

The group has criticized Lee in the past for his portrayal of Italian-Americans in “Do the Right Thing” and “Jungle Fever,” and has expressed worry about “Miracle at St. Anna,” Lee's upcoming World War II drama set in Italy.

While promoting “Miracle at St. Anna,” about the all-black 92nd Buffalo Division which fought the Germans in Italy, Lee said Eastwood's Iwo Jima movie “Flags of Our Fathers” lacked a single African-American.

“There were many African-Americans who survived that war and who were upset at Clint for not having one [in 'Flags' or 'Letters From Iwo Jima']. That was his version: The negro soldier did not exist. I have a different version,” Lee said recently at the Cannes film festival in France.

Responding to Lee's comments in an interview with the U.K.'s Guardian, Eastwood said of Lee: “A guy like him should shut his face.”

“Has he ever studied the history?” Eastwood asked.

Lee responded to Eastwood, telling him to “shut his face,” saying the “Dirty Harry” actor “sounds like an angry old man” and “we're not on a plantation.”