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Following mounting criticisms of Spike Lee’s decision to include conspiracy theorists in his upcoming docuseries, a message posted to the HBO Max screeners site on Wednesday indicates he has returned to the studio to edit the final episode of NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½, which is slated to air with its penultimate episode on Saturday, Sept. 11.
“I’m Back In The Editing Room And Looking At The Eighth And Final Chapter Of NYC EPICENTERS 9/11➔2021½,” the statement reads. “I Respectfully Ask You To Hold Your Judgement Until You See The FINAL CUT.”
The final episode, which reportedly features these theories, was made available for media to screen ahead of its official airing. It’s currently unclear whether other episodes of the series are being edited as well.
HBO Max declined to comment beyond Lee’s statement.
The series’ sixth episode features a conspiracy theory — presented by a former United Airlines flight attendant — around Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to take back control of the plane from hijackers. The theory, which isn’t included alongside any expert knowledge, argues that the plane didn’t crash, but had instead been shot down.
Lee’s statement follows his Aug. 23 interview with The New York Times, in which he says he still has questions around the nature of the Sept. 11 attacks. That’s why, according to the director, he included in his documentary the voices of several members of the conspiracy group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.
“I still don’t … I mean, I got questions. And I hope that maybe the legacy of this documentary is that Congress holds a hearing, a congressional hearing about 9/11,” Lee told The Times about why he decided to include those perspectives in NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½, his new eight-episode HBO documentary series looking at 9/11 and the pandemic in New York City.
Lee went on to say that he didn’t buy the official explanations of what happened that day 20 years ago, which involved multiple plane crashes, the collapse of several buildings in lower Manhattan — including both World Trade Center towers — and the deaths of nearly 3,000 people, with an additional 6,000 injured.
“The amount of heat that it takes to make steel melt, that temperature’s not reached. And then the juxtaposition of the way Building 7 fell to the ground — when you put it next to other building collapses that were demolitions, it’s like you’re looking at the same thing,” Lee said, sharing his own thoughts on why elements of official reporting around the tragedy didn’t add up.
He added, “But people going to make up their own mind. My approach is put the information in the movie and let people decide for themselves. I respect the intelligence of the audience.”
Lee pointed to how viewers have criticized his fictional scripted films for being misogynistic and antisemitic as further justification of his decision to feature conspiracy theorists and encourage viewers to decide for themselves.
“People are going to think what they think, regardless. I’m not dancing around your question. People are going to think what they think,” Lee told the Times. “People have called me a racist for Do the Right Thing. People said in Mo’ Better Blues I was antisemitic. She’s Gotta Have It, that was misogynist. People are going to just think what they think. And you know what? I’m still here, going on four decades of filmmaking.”
The conspiracy theorist group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth have since shown their support of Lee on social media, sharing similar statements to those he made in the Times interview. “You want off-the-rails?” the group tweeted in response to one story about the director’s recent statements. “Try the official government explanation that a 47-story skyscraper collapsed symmetrically into its footprint at free-fall due to fires.”
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