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Spike Lee’s re-edited version of the final chapter of his four-part HBO docuseries NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½ has removed footage featuring 9/11 conspiracy theories, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The final chapter is now 30 minutes shorter than previously planned.
Early reports of episode eight, which is the second half of part four, said the narrative featured theories about the reported causes of the various World Trade Center buildings’ collapses. In addition, part three also presented conspiracy theories about Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to take back control of the plane from hijackers. The theory, which wasn’t initially included alongside any expert knowledge, argues that the plane didn’t crash, but had instead been shot down. There have been no new edits to part three.
The re-edited cut of part four, which according to the screener site is the “final, edited picture lock” of the episode, came just days after an interview with The New York Times, in which Lee defended the inclusion of conspiracy theories proposed by members of the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and echoed by the director in the Aug. 23 piece.
“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.
Lee shared that he still had “questions” and said he hoped that the legacy of his HBO documentary would be a “congressional hearing about 9/11.” As for why he chose to include them, he stated that “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.”
Following the interview and online reviews, Lee faced growing criticism over his decision to include the conspiracy theorists in his docuseries, which debuted Aug. 22. By Wednesday, a statement was posted to the HBO Max screeners site indicating that the director had returned to the studio to edit the “final cut” of the last episode of NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½, which will officially air Saturday, Sept. 11.
Additional reporting by staff reporter Katie Kilkenny.
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