Spike Lee Calls Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel a “Bully” Over ‘Chi-Raq’ Dispute

Spike Lee AP Images/Invision
Spike Lee
AP Images/Invision

“I said, ‘Mayor, Your Honor, you’re gonna be on the wrong side of history,’ ” the iconic filmmaker says of the dispute over his upcoming feature, ‘Chi-Raq.’

Spike Lee and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel do not get along.

In a recent interview with Chicago magazine, the director of the upcoming Amazon Studios’ film Chi-Raq said Emanuel — who does not like the title or content of the film — “tried to paint me like the villain.”

“I’m not the bad guy, but that’s how he was trying to portray it. Do I have the guns? Am I the one pulling the trigger? To be honest, he’s a bully,” Lee told the magazine’s Bryan Smith. “My tactic with the mayor — any bully — is to come out swinging. I said, ‘Mayor, Your Honor, you’re gonna be on the wrong side of history.’ ”

Calling Chicago the “most segregated big city in America,” Lee said the mayor does not want the public to see the violence of the city, especially on the south side, because it’s happening “on his watch.”

“We started shooting Chi-Raq June 1. We finished July 9. During that time, 331 people got wounded, 65 murdered,” Lee said to highlight his point. “New York City has three times the population of Chicago; Chicago has more homicides than New York City.”

Chi-Raq is an update of the classical Greek play Lysistrata and stars Teyonah Parris as a woman who protests the city’s black-on-black gun violence. The film also features Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson.

Production of the film, due out in December, hit several snags while shooting in Chicago, which Lee believes Emanuel helped create, including the introduction of a resolution that would have made the production eligible for state tax refunds, he told the magazine.

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Source: The Hollywood Reporter | Ryan Parker