The New York Police department has paid acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee more than $200,000 for a program that’s meant to improve relations between local law enforcement and the Black community.
A spokesman for the NYPD’s nonprofit New York City Police Foundation confirmed the news to the New York Post Thursday, Aug. 16, saying the department reached out to the “BlacKkKlansman” director in 2016. The NYCPF drew up a contract with Lee’s advertising company, Spike DDB, for a $219,113 ad campaign, which was funded by the foundation.
“The Foundation approached and consulted several creative teams including the Spike DDB agency to help develop a public awareness campaign that would aim to strengthen the partnership between the NYPD and the communities it serves,” spokesman Brady Littlefield said. “We received tremendous input and ideas, and that process ultimately resulted in last spring’s neighborhood policing ad campaign.”
The partnership came to light through the foundation’s most recent tax filing, which includes some of 2016 through 2017.
Lee, meanwhile, has been making the rounds promoting his new film about the real-life story of a Black Colorado police detective named Ron Stallworth who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in 1979.
When speaking to CNN about the film, which was released on the 1 year anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, N.C., Lee said President Donald Trump failed to denounce racism.
“The president of the United States failed to denounce hate, hate groups, the whole world saw what happened and he didn’t do it,” Lee explained. “Since this guy’s gotten into the white house, it’s not even a dog whistle, it’s a bullhorn and then … we’ve seen a rise of the right — it’s not just America, it’s worldwide.”
Meanwhile, Twitter users hearing the news of Lee’s involvement in the NYPD’s propaganda have criticized him because of his previous outspokenness against police brutality.
“Spike: ‘You killin’ our people!’ NYPD: ‘We need to make Black friends… we’ll give you $200k to find some black buddies for us.’ Spike: ‘Ok. Sounds good.’”
“See…This is exactly what made me feel like something was *off* when I watched that movie.”
“I’m not going to judge him. The police hired Spike to consult on a program aimed at improving Police relations with Minorities. I don’t see how this is a bad thing, whether he got paid or not. Chill out, Millennialsz.”