Eastwood says Lee “should shut his face”

By Alexandra Heilbron on June 6, 2008 | 37 Comments

Clint EastwoodClint Eastwood has responded to Spike Lee‘s complaint that there were no black actors in his films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima. The two-time Oscar-winning director explained that African-American troops who were at the battle didn’t take part in raising the flag. He told British newspaper The Guardian, “The story is Flags of our Fathers, the famous flag-raising picture, and they didn’t do that. If I go ahead and put an African-American actor in there, people go: ‘This guy’s lost his mind.’ I mean, it’s not accurate.” Referring to Lee, Eastwood added: “A guy like him should shut his face.” Lee made the criticism at a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival last month, where he was promoting his new war film, Miracle at St. Anna, about the all-black 92nd Buffalo Division.

Comments & Discussion

  1. Jessie • June 6, 2008 @ 10:14 AM

    Oh for heaven’s sake! They can’t re-write history to make African-American’s happy! Why does somebody ALWAYS have to find something to complain about???

  2. Anonymous • June 6, 2008 @ 10:35 AM

    it’s silly.
    but yay, they got Adam in there so i’m good. Nish (native) rules! Yeah LOVE YOU ADAM BEACH!!!

  3. Nancy • June 6, 2008 @ 10:41 AM

    You go, Clint!! “Go ahead, Spike. Make my day!”

    Now would be a great time to shut down the BET network, as well and, re-name that college fund, too!!

  4. KoRn-FaN • June 6, 2008 @ 11:36 AM

    hahahaha good for u Spike Lee u dummy

  5. Anonymous • June 6, 2008 @ 11:45 AM

    exactly, give racist spike lee some of his own venom

  6. bubbles • June 6, 2008 @ 2:38 PM

    If they had to throw down I think Clint would wipe the floor with Spike.

    On a side note, does anyone know where I can get a Dirty Harry bobble head?

  7. Poppa John's in Exile • June 6, 2008 @ 3:46 PM

    Well hell, that’s what we were all talking about approximately 2 weeks ago!!!

  8. tributegirl • June 6, 2008 @ 3:49 PM


  9. tammy • June 6, 2008 @ 3:50 PM

    you know what? these stars get criticized etheir which way you look at it and it’s sad to know that even people in the industry are doing it to each other…their both good directors…but I think spike lee is a little sensitive and maybe a little jealous…and hey KORN-FAN I’M A KORN FAN TOO…

  10. Poppa John's in Exile • June 6, 2008 @ 3:55 PM

    The next thing you know all of the Bible characters will be re-done so that we may be mindful of the hyper-sensitive in our communities. Brutally abominable!!!

  11. Mary Ann • June 6, 2008 @ 4:16 PM

    Since Clint went to the bother to make 2 movies with the Letters from Iwo Jima showing the Japanese side of the war, I am sure he totally checked historical references about the flag raising. As already mentionned, he can’t and shouldn’t rewrite history just to make soem smart mouth happy. That negates the whole exercise.

  12. Lexie • June 6, 2008 @ 4:16 PM

    Spike’s real first name is Shelton.

  13. Poppa John's in Exile • June 6, 2008 @ 4:42 PM

    Well, NOW I can finally get some sleep….

  14. Jennifer • June 6, 2008 @ 4:58 PM

    It’s a shame that 2 great (histoically correct) movies have to be criticized for not being “politically correct.” 5 stars to Clint for cutting through the crap and saying how he truly feels!!

  15. Sergio • June 6, 2008 @ 7:50 PM

    Spike has always been pro-black,with an obvious chip on his shoulder. Come to think of it, I don’t recall any of his movies having white stars.

  16. Hunter Daniels • June 6, 2008 @ 10:47 PM

    To call Spike Lee a racist for pointing out the hegemony of another director’s work is absurd.

    The guy has issues with women and Jews, to an extent, but his sentiments are not anti-white. They are simply a reflection of the way that every single mainstream American movie treats minorities. They are types, not people. They are the best friend, not the romantic lead.

    Films are a basically racist, sexist enterprise. Lee just shoves in your face the materials that black people in America have to deal with. He treats whites the way black character are generally treated. That’s not racism, it’s counter-culture.

    If you don’t understand what white and male privilege do, you are almost certainly a white male.

    It’s not political correct-ness. It’s an issue of continuing to treat minorities as second class citizens in the media.

    And really, Eastwood didn’t respond to Lee’s statement at all. Lee pointed out that there were NO speaking roles for African Americans in the movie. This is odd since 1-in-10 people in this country are black. Now, there shouldn’t be quotas for race and clearly none of the main characters here had any reason to be black, but surely there was 1 black guy somewhere in this story?

    Or maybe there wasn’t. Black troops weren’t actually in the first brigades of the invasion. So, Lee is wrong HERE, but his overall point is absolutely valid.

  17. Hunter Daniels • June 6, 2008 @ 10:51 PM

    Also, no. I’m not an angry black man or woman. I’m actually white. I am just aware of what my skin color does for my social status.

  18. Patricia • June 7, 2008 @ 2:37 AM

    I can’t understand Lee’s imagined slight. I hate to say this for fear of sounding racist, but there are many blacks that can’t help themselves bringing race and anything that might or might not be considered racist to the forefront of everything they say and do. This an election yr with a black man running for the white house Spike Lee has to start that crap!He should just shut the hell up and let’s see if he gets the crowds out to see his “black” movie

  19. Nancy • June 7, 2008 @ 5:59 PM

    Speaking of THAT house, Patricia…if Obama gets voted in, I’m sure the name of THAT house will get changed!! LOL

  20. tributegirl • June 7, 2008 @ 6:15 PM

    LMAO!!! I never thought of that!

  21. Karen • June 7, 2008 @ 8:10 PM

    Yeah, I am back for one millisecond. I was checking out the movies and I love Clint’s movies especially and had to check out what he was saying….

    As I said, why doesn’t Spike Lee check every movie out and complain about each and every movie that does NOT have a black person in it? Its like me saying, why doesn’t that movie or this movie have a Native actor in it. Get over it Spike. Not everything needs to be a fight. Oh yeah, Anon from the beginning there….I have to agree about Adam Beach….YUMMY!! 😉 Bye Kids…I am sure I will be back to be my natural old self again some month. I am sure you must miss me Nancy? lol….I have to admit I miss those zingers you so readily hand out. They always gave me a good laugh.

  22. Gigguy • June 7, 2008 @ 8:31 PM

    You have to remembr the historical era the film covered. African Americans were not allowed in the US Navy during WWII except as mess stewards and were told to try the Army when they attempted to enlist in the Marines.
    The war recond of African Americans was exemplary WHEN THEY WERE ALLOWED TO FIGHT.

  23. Nancy • June 7, 2008 @ 8:33 PM

    Karen: Glad to please! I’m still playing with all the children on here…LOL. Yes, I do miss you…and Gina too!!!

  24. Big • June 8, 2008 @ 11:10 AM

    Well now Eastwood is gonna make an all black war movie. Happy now Spike?!!

  25. Velvet • June 8, 2008 @ 2:23 PM

    I believe the so called commentary supposedly coming from Spike Lee and now Clint Eastwood is not true and all spin to create drama. I’m not falling for it. Peace out.

  26. Mat • June 8, 2008 @ 6:28 PM

    I am soo tired of people pulling out the racist card, and I’m black. Clint was trying to be historically accurate when he made “Flags…”. He’s not going to compromise history just to please a crowd. Yes, racism still lives on but it will always live on. It’s just something Spike is going to have to get used to. I think Spike is a racist hypocrite. GO CLINT!

  27. Julie • June 8, 2008 @ 8:40 PM

    Clint eastwood is telling a historical story, I’m sorry to see that Spike Lee wants to change the facts of this story ….it is a true telling as close as he could get. to add a black soldier to please Mr. Lee would turn it into fiction. Is that what the relatives of the sruvivors want to see…Dah don’t think so so movie forward Mr. Lee.

  28. Oluwole • June 9, 2008 @ 12:40 PM

    It is very unfortunate that Americans can think beyond their skins. Eastwood produced a historical accurate movie, Does he have to make it politically correct? Does that change the fact that it is historically true that blacks were not there because some racists will not give them the chance to defend thir country?
    Has that changed? Not entirely true. White males are still been given unqualified, unearned and mostly unsolicited advantage for being ‘white’ and ‘male’ and the reverse goes to other races.
    Blacks generally seem to think they should accept or be angry at being disadvantaged instead of working at changing things.

    Obama probably will need a miracle to gain the attention of “blue collar, white males” and that is just because he is black and for no other reasons.
    You just need to travel to an average America city to see how divided it is along clour lines.

    It stinks

  29. Nancy • June 9, 2008 @ 4:30 PM

    Well Oluwole, I don’t know about where you live but, I am Canadian and I’ve been to Michigan quite a few times and much of the population are black….I have to say, that I noticed ABSOLUTELY NO racism, AT ALL. I stayed and shopped and I saw no different treatment of blacks or whites. All were very polite to us except one white man who, when he found out we were from Canada, said “Oh, Poor you!”and was very snotty about it. Maybe it does happen and we missed it???? Maybe just not in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area.

  30. Peter B • June 10, 2008 @ 1:33 AM

    Well, I hope Mr. Lee has a token white guy in his new movie “Miracle at St. Anna” (story about all-black 92nd Buffalo Division).

  31. Lori • June 10, 2008 @ 1:08 PM

    OK – On one hand you have Clint and on the other you have Spike – the student should never try to teach the teacher.

  32. tammy • June 10, 2008 @ 2:50 PM

    It’s funny how Spike thinks Clint is racist…if you look at all the movies Spike Lee has made in his bio it doesn’t sound like alot of those movies had any white people in them what so ever just by reading the name of the movies and I have seen some of them…so he should put his foot where his mouth is…

  33. Anonymous • June 11, 2008 @ 8:06 AM

    It is so unfortunate that even in this day and age – its all about race, particularly in the USA. Spike Lee, who thinks he is knowledgeable, should read a history book. Clint Eastwood made an accurate movie, not about race, colour, religion, etc., but about facts in history. Shame on you Spike Lee!!!!!!!!!

  34. tributegirl • June 12, 2008 @ 7:13 PM

    Yeah, isn’t it funny that in this situation it is the black guy who is most racist? Isn’t it usually the other way around? Actually, I think this way is probably the most common, just no one will admit it.

  35. Kewan Woodard • June 15, 2008 @ 12:41 AM

    He needs to stop breaking his balls what the hells wrong with him jumping on Clint Eastwood like that ?!hell eversince from 1968 to 1983 an actor by the name of Albert Popwell was cast and was directed in many of his films including the “Dirty Harry”sequals playing different characters “Coogans Bluff” before that ,Spike Lee does not know what the damn hell he’s talking about and that’s a damn lie Clint has a longer track record and a career then Lee and he’ not a racist and he never kept black actors out of his films never in his life Spike is just nothing but a ballbreaker!

  36. Nancy • July 8, 2008 @ 12:37 PM

    I know a few people I feel like telling to shut their face!!

  37. Nicole • January 26, 2009 @ 1:36 PM

    Sergio on June 6, 2008 7:50 pm

    Spike has always been pro-black,with an obvious chip on his shoulder. Come to think of it, I don��t recall any of his movies having white stars.

    ….um, Serg, have you seen School Daze? Remember Remy? He was white… And Jungle Fever? Which was about a white/black couple – hint, one of the stars, Annabelle Sciorra, was white…then there’s numerous films of his that star both John and Nick Turturro. Just saying, think about what you say before you put it in an open forum for criticsm!

    “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth (or participate in an online forum) and remove all doubt…”

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