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Spike Lee is re-editing his HBO series on 9/11 amid controversy for featuring conspiracy theorists


Director Spike Lee announced he is re-editing the final episode of his 9/11 documentary after admitting he believes a conspiracy theory that the attacks were caused by a controlled demolition. 

‘I’m Back In The Editing Room And Looking At The Eighth And Final Chapter Of NYC EPICENTERS 9/11➔2021½. I Respectfully Ask You To Hold Your Judgment Until You See The FINAL CUT,’ read a statement Lee posted on an HBO exclusive platform.

Also included were views of experts who have closely studied the 9/11 attacks, including S. Shyam Sunder, who led a lengthy investigation for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and who has debunked conspiracy theories about the terror attacks. 

Lee’s decision to make final edits and to release previews featuring scientists seem to be efforts of damage control. The about-face comes after rising criticism that the documentary didn’t offer an even balance of arguments, and even sided with conspiracy theorists by giving them a platform just weeks ahead of the 20th anniversary of the atrocity.   

Spike Lee announced that he is re-editing the final episode of his documentary on 9/11 after backlash he faced for featuring conspiracy theorists 

He was discussing his new documentary series New York City Epicenters 9/11 to 2021 1/2, which includes interviews with a conspiracy theory group

He was discussing his new documentary series New York City Epicenters 9/11 to 2021 1/2, which includes interviews with a conspiracy theory group

The last episode, which will air on the 20th anniversary of the attacks, includes several members of ‘Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth’ – a group that has suggested the United States government was involved with the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

In an interview with The New York Times on Monday, Lee admitted he believed the that 7 World Trade Center skyscraper could have not collapsed because of the heat, and rather seemed like an internal demolition. 

The original WTC 7 was a 42 story building constructed in 1987, which was filmed tumbling to the ground after the Twin Towers collapsed. Some angles showed the seemingly undamaged tower collapse onto its own footprint sparked, which controlled demolition claims. But footage from the other side of the building shows a huge gash caused by falling debris. 

World Trade Center 7 included a New York bureau for the CIA, sparking further conspiracies of an inside job. But units in the building were available for anyone to rent, and experts insist there was no government plot to destroy it.

Critics have argued that conspiracy theorists’ and scientists’ arguments should not be presented to the public as if they were in the same realm of expertise. 

Jeremy Stahl, editor for Slate, wrote in an article for the magazine: ‘In terms of conveying facts, this is a bit like presenting Covid-19 vaccine skeptics in a debate alongside Anthony Fauci, or Holocaust deniers alongside the Simon Wiesenthal Center, or a clique of climate change skeptics alongside the authors of the United Nations IPCC report’  

But Lee has defended the content of his series, saying that viewers are entitled to hear arguments from both sides. 

‘My approach is put the information in the movie and let people decide for themselves. I respect the intelligence of the audience,’ he said.

The documentary also includes interviews with New York politicians like Senator Chuck Schumer and Mayor Bill de Blasio, along with various health care workers, firefighters and activists.

He said the New York Police Department declined to be interviewed in his documentary due to his views on police.   

When Times reporter Reggie Ugwu asked Lee about the group’s inclusion in the documentary series, Lee responded: ‘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.’

Ugwu then asked Lee if he believes the ‘official explanations’ for the World Trade Center collapse on September 11, to which Lee claimed: ‘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 in the interview.  

At that point, Ugwu asked Lee why he believes in 9/11 conspiracies but does not support conspiracy theories about vaccines or the 2020 election, to which Lee quipped: ‘People are going to think what they think, regardless.

‘I’m not dancing around your question,’ he said. ‘People are going to think what they think.’

He noted: ‘People have called me a racist for Do the Right Thing. People said in Mo’ Better Blues, I was anti-Semitic, She’s Gotta Have It that was misogynist.

‘People are just going to think what they think,’ Lee said. ‘And you know what? I’m still here, going on four decades of filmmaking.’

Smoke and flames were seen billowing out of the twin towers before they ultimately collapsed

Smoke and flames were seen billowing out of the twin towers before they ultimately collapsed

All that was left of the Twin Towers in the aftermath was steel

All that was left of the Twin Towers in the aftermath was steel

The wreckage of WTC7 is pictured after the 9/11 attacks - the way in which it collapsed after the Twin Towers sparked conspiracy theories it had been brought down by explosives

The wreckage of WTC7 is pictured after the 9/11 attacks – the way in which it collapsed after the Twin Towers sparked conspiracy theories it had been brought down by explosives 

The new building which replaced the original World Trade Center 7 is pictured here, but the conspiracy theories continue

The new building which replaced the original World Trade Center 7 is pictured here, but the conspiracy theories continue 

The controlled demolition theory has been around since the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, when Building 7 was hit by debris from the Twin Towers and was damaged by fires, which burned for seven hours until it was completely destroyed at about 5:20 p.m.

Some proponents of the theory suggest the building was demolished because it may have served as an operational center for the demolition of the Twin Towers, while others suggest that government insiders may have wanted to destroy files about corporate fraud.

Loose Change film producer Dylan Avery once said he thought the destruction of the building was suspicious because it housed a CIA office, an outpost of the Secret Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the city’s emergency command center.

But United States Special Operations Command has said anyone could have rented space in the building.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology also investigated the claims and ‘found no corroborating evidence for alternative hypotheses suggesting that the World Trade enter towers were brought down by controlled demolition using explosives planted prior to September 11, 2001.’

‘Instead, photographs and videos from several angles clearly show that the collapse initiated at the fire and impact floors, and that the collapse progressed from initiating floors downward until the dust clouds obscured the view.’

Lee has been a top Democratic donor and has campaigned for far left politicians over the past few years.

Lee has been a major Democratic donor and has campaigned for far left politicians

Lee has been a major Democratic donor and has campaigned for far left politicians

In 2012, FOX reports, he hosted Obama in a fundraiser at his Manhattan home, then in 2016, he campaigned for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders ahead of the primaries, even appearing in a radio ad for the senator.

Then in 2019, Lee hosted a sold-out fundraiser for now vice president Kamala Harris in Martha’s Vineyard.

He has said the NYPD declined to be interviewed in his new documentary due to his unflattering portrayal of the police in the past.

‘The only people who said no was NYPD,’ Lee said in the interview. ‘They don’t look good in this.

‘And that footage [of police officers assaulting Black Lives Matter protesters in 2020] does not lie. They were cracking heads.’ 



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