Wesley Snipes has garnered quite the reputation during his storied career as an actor. Along with being convicted for income tax evasion and spending three years in prison, the actor has become notable for cultivating a very powerful presence both on-screen and behind the scenes. One such story of his behavior has become somewhat infamous, and now, Snipes is speaking out against it.
In an interview with The Guardian, Wesley Snipes is asked about stories that have been told by comedian and actor Patton Oswalt. Oswalt worked as an actor on the film Blade: Trinity, and he has recounted a number of anecdotes over the years that focus on the wild antics of Snipes during the production of that film. One such story has Oswalt claiming that Snipes actually tried to strangle the writer/director, David S. Goyer. You can hear him mention this in the segment from the podcast Doug Loves Movies:
In this new interview with Wesley Snipes, the former Blade responds to these claims, but the wording of his responses leaves something to be desired. In regards to supposedly strangling David S. Goyer, Snipes said, “Let me tell you one thing. If I had tried to strangle David Goyer, you probably wouldn’t be talking to me now. A black guy with muscles strangling the director of a movie is going to jail, I guarantee you.” When pressed if Snipes flat out denies that the strangulation took place, his response was, “Did I go to jail for strangling him? Never happened.”
Instead of outright saying that he did not strangle David S. Goyer, Wesley Snipes admits that he did not go to jail for attempting to strangle David S. Goyer. That is very true but it is a little disconcerting. His follow-up response of, “Never happened,” could be in reference to the event and that is his denial, or it could be supplementing his proclamation of never going to jail for the alleged incident. Patton Oswalt made some other claims during an interview on The Pete Holmes Show.
In regards to these claims about wacky behavior, Wesley Snipes doesn’t necessarily refute the claims but rather asks why everyone immediately believes Patton Oswalt’s allegations are the truth. “Why do people believe this guy’s version of this story? Answer me that,” said Snipes. This eventually led to a point about the kind of experiences Black citizens in America have to endure. “This is part of the challenges that we as African Americans face here in America – these microaggressions,” continued Snipes. “The presumption that one white guy can make a statement and that statement stands as true! Why would people believe his version is true? Because they are predisposed to believing the Black guy is always the problem.”
Wesley Snipes certainly brings up a valid point about race when it comes to systemic issues of always believing white voices, but it does not help his case that he never directly denies any of the behavior brought up by Patton Oswalt. What really needs to happen is the corroboration of these events by other members of the Blade: Trinity cast and crew. Whether they back up Snipes or Oswalt, we would just need to hear more from others involved in the making of the film and these particular instances.
Until then, the discussion about Wesley Snipes and his actions during the making of Blade: Trinity will remain nothing more than another bit of Hollywood on-set apocrypha. If Snipes is innocent of this behavior, it would be hopeful that he can find other people to back up his version of events. If not, we will have to wait and see if any of Oswalt’s stories ever get confirmed by another party. Then, it will be very interesting to see how Wesley Snipes will respond.