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Spike Lee: 'Patriot'-Hatin'

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Mar 19, 2001 | 11:50am EST

Spike Lee hates "The Patriot." The director of "Summer of Sam," "Malcolm X" and other films blasted the Mel Gibson Revolutionary War-epic-cum-action-movie in today's Hollywood Reporter, calling it "a complete whitewashing of history, revisionist history" because none of the characters, conveniently, are depicted as slaveholders.

Lee also noted the absence of American Indians in the movie.

"When talking about the history of this great country, one can never forget, leave out or whatever, that America was built upon the genocide of Native Americans and the enslavement of African people. To say otherwise is criminal," Lee wrote in the trade's weekly guest column.

Lee concluded his missive like this: "I say to producer Dean Devlin, director Roland Emmerich and [screenwriter Robert] Rodat that maybe SIZE DOES MATTER," alluding to the bombastic ad campaign for Emmerich's last film, "Godzilla." "... But shouldn't TRUTH MATTER MORE?"

This isn't the first time Lee has taken a major film to task for alleged racism. In 1998 he lambasted writer-director Quentin Tarantino for using the word "nigger" 38 times in the film "Jackie Brown." That time, his barbs drew reprisals from Tarantino and actor Samuel L Jackson, who uttered most of those "n-words" in the movie.

The folks at Columbia Pictures responded with a resounding "no comment."

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