On Sunday evening, actor Spike Lee stepped on stage to accept his Oscar for his direction of the film BlacKkKlansman. Set in the early 1970s, the film tells the true story of African-American detective Ron Stallworth. Though risking his own life in the process, Stallworth bravely sought out justice by going undercover to expose the Ku Klux Klan. The highly acclaimed movie won for best adapted screenplay at the ceremony. After accepting his award, Lee gave a brief but poignant speech urging the nation to hold on to their morals during these turbulent times, according to Fox News.
Lee was armed with notes which he read from while delivering his speech. He persuaded viewers to make the “moral choice” in regard to the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Lee did not mention President Trump by name throughout his speech, but the message was still clear. As Trump seeks re-election, the actor would like to see the nation choose a different candidate.
“When we regain our humanity it will be a powerful moment. The 2020 election is around the corner — let’s all mobilize and be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate.”
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) February 25, 2019
While Lee’s sentiments were praised by many, the speech was not taken so well by the president himself. Trump spoke out in criticism of the director in a bold tweet following the ceremony. “Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all, when doing his racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans,” he wrote.
Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late Senator John McCain, has made her disapproval of Trump known since the very beginning. She spoke out in support of Lee for using his platform to express his political beliefs, regardless of the controversy he faced. While celebrities are often criticized for using their following to elevate their own political agenda, McCain believes actors have as much of a right as anyone else to be vocal about their opinions.
“These are tumultuous times and we are in a pool that we say controversial things all the time. It’s not so bad, life does go on, and it’s OK for people to speak their truth when they get an award.”
She went on to point out that the president himself got his start in the entertainment business. If he can use his celebrity for political motives, others should be allowed to follow suit.