Jamie Foxx responds to Spike Lee's 'Django Unchained' comments
Jamie Foxx says Spike Lee's criticism and boycott of fellow director Quentin Tarantino's movie "Django Unchained" over its depiction of black slaves in America, is "irresponsible."
The actor plays a slave-turned-bounty hunter in the film, which is nominated for five Oscars. It has stirred controversy over not only its sensitive subject matter, but its repeated use of a racial slur throughout the film.
Lee, a longtime advocate of civil rights and director of movies such as "Malcolm X," said in December that he would boycott "Django Unchained," adding on his Twitter page: "American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western.It Was A Holocaust.My Ancestors Are Slaves.Stolen From Africa.I Will Honor Them. (sic)"
"The question for me is: where's Spike Lee coming from?" Foxx told the UK newspaper The Guardian (warning: Explicit language) in an interview published on January 17.
"He didn't like Whoopi Goldberg, he doesn't like Tyler Perry, he doesn't like anybody," Foxx said. "I think he's sort of run his course. I mean, I respect Spike, he's a fantastic director. But he gets a little shady when he's taking shots at his colleagues without looking at the work. To me, that's irresponsible."
Lee has not responded to Foxx's comments.
The actor, who was born Eric Bishop in Terrell, Texas, said the grandmother who helped raise him used to curse and use the racial slur heard in the movie while talking to him, adding: "Django wouldn't bother her at all."
In a 1986 interview printed in the 2002 book "Spike Lee: Interviews," the director criticized Goldberg for wearing blue eye contacts, saying: ''I hope people realize, that the media realizes, that she's not a spokesperson for black people, especially when you're running around with [expletive] blue contact lenses, telling everybody that your eyes are blue."
"I would caution Spike Lee to think about his own feelings about being black," Goldberg responded during a UCLA seminar about comedy, according to People magazine. "If I can have green eyes today and blue eyes tomorrow, so be it. People do this whole trip about black; I'm not interested in that. My answer to Spike is I hope everything goes well. But stay off my eye color because if I want to change it I will."
The two went on to work together. Lee's production company, 40 Acres and a Mule -- named after items promised to freed slaves after the Civil War in an order that was later revoked -- produced the 2003 Showtime TV movie "Good Fences," which starred Goldberg and Danny Glover.
Lee also once negative things about Perry's TBS comedy shows "Meet the Browns" and "'House of Payne," citing "buffoonery" on television and saying: "I see these two ads for these two shows and I'm scratching my head." Perry said in a "60 Minutes" interview in 2009 that he was angry and "insulted" by Lee's comments.
Lee has never worked on an on-screen project with Perry or Foxx. But he did direct another black actor who plays a slave in "Django Unchained," Samuel L. Jackson, in five movies -- "School Daze," "Do The Right Thing," "Jungle Fever," "Mo' Better Blues" and the new film "Oldboy," which is set for release in October.
Despite recent controversy about "Django Unchained," the film has received mostly positive reviews from top critics (check out what 10 of them said).
Foxx, who won an Oscar for the 2004 movie "Ray," and Jackson did not receive Oscar nods for "Django Unchained." Their co-star Christoph Waltz, who plays a bounty hunter who befriends and strikes a deal with Django, is nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Check out a full list of Oscar nominations.