Spike Lee Re-Edits HBO Series After Negative Critiques Of Inclusion Of Conspiracy Theories
Academy Award-winning director Spike Lee has re-edited his HBO four-part series NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½ after criticism for including conspiracy theories that memorized the terrorist attacks.
The series premiered on Aug. 22, and the final episode will be released on Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the attacks. The documentary includes interviews by people affected by 9/11 and their callings of the attack. The series also talks about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has affected New York City. The final episode went from two hours to 90 minutes after Lee cut out interviews of 9/11 conspiracy theorists who claimed the attacks were hiding something and the collapse of the towers was suspicious. One of the conspiracy theorists interviewed is Richard Gage and his group, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.
The theories regarding the twin towers were cut from the finale, but the third episode still has interviews from conspiracy theorists who believe Flight 93, the airplane that crashed in Pennsylvania, was shot down.
Lee’s intention of the film was for “people to make up their mind. My approach is to put the information in the movie and let them decide for themselves,” he told The New York Times.
Despite Lee’s hopes for the series, the reaction wasn’t as accepting. Film and T.V critics have expressed their distaste for the theories and Lee giving these groups a spotlight.
“I was surprised that Lee, HBO, and WarnerMedia might be lending this group any amount of time,” said Slate reporter Jeremy Stahl.
Stahl also denounced how Lee allows Gage to promote his theories on the pandemic and the COIVD-19 vaccine, calling it “dangerous.”
Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times review said, “It’s quite another thing for Lee to sully and sour what could have been a defining and lasting look at New York City over the last 20 years by ceding his platform to such garbage.”
On Aug. 25, the director took to Twitter and told his followers, “I’m Back In The Editing Room And Final Chapters Of NYC EPICENTERS 9/11-2021½. I Respectfully Ask You To Hold Your Judgement Until You See The FINAL CUT.”
There has been no update on whether episode three will be re-edited before its release date.