Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods) has stirred up plenty of controversy over his long career between his feature-length films like the Oscar-winning BlacKkKlansman. Now his four-part documentary series about 9/11 called NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½ is getting some serious scrutiny. Due to this latest spark of criticism, he is going in to make some changes. The finale was meant to air on September 11 for the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack, will go under some re-edits due to backlash for including conspiracy theories.
Deadline confirmed that approximately 30 minutes would be cut from the finale of the HBO docuseries. Spike Lee himself is going back into the editing room to make oversee the editing process. This timeframe includes a segment from people who are a part of the 9/11 Truth movement, a conspiracy theory that states the attack was an inside job. It also was going to feature other people and groups who thought the planes that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York City were a part of something beyond that was not being reported.
The backlash came from a statement from Spike Lee as he confirmed the fourth episode would include conspiracy theorists to the New York Times. The filmmaker “had questions” about the terrorist attack from September 11, 2001. He spoke about he vented this by talking to people who had theories about the possibility of the United States government’s involvement.
The series will go beyond 9/11 through its four episodes. Spike Lee explores the impact of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement on the city in the premiere from last Sunday (August 22). The upcoming episode on August 29 will go into the attack on the capital building earlier this year. He talks to representatives who were there to hear about their experience during the attack that happened on January 6. That second episode will also look at recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine.
NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½ will show Spike Lee talking to politicians, doctors, and people affected by major events in New York like the 9/11 attacks. It will also feature actors like New York-born stars John Turturro (The Night Of) and Rosie Perez (The Flight Attendant). Jeffery Wright (What If…?) makes an appearance, but while he is not from the city or even the state as he was born in Washington, he did go to New York University briefly before dropping out.
Spike Lee directs all four episodes and produces the docuseries. Judy Aley, Sara Rodriguez, Jason Sokoloff, Cara Fitts, Heather Parish, Solomon Polshek, and Kevina Tidwell also produce. Lisa Heller and Nancy Abraham are the executive producers.
We will have to wait and see if the re-edits make a difference for the finale. People’s reactions will ultimately decide if deleting footage with conspiracy theorists salvages it to deliver something respectful on the anniversary of the terrorist attack that shakes the United States to this day. NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½ is on HBO. Spike Lee’s latest series hits on Sundays at 6 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT.