Couple who Fled Home after Spike Lee Tweet Hires Law Firm UPDATE: Spike Apologizes
A couple who say they were forced to leave their home after director Spike Lee re-tweeted their address to his Twitter followers has hired the Morgan & Morgan law firm to represent them.
"At this point, they have retained us to protect their interests" and their safety, attorney Matt Morgan said of Elaine and David McClain, an elderly Sanford-area couple in their 70s.
The couple's address was tweeted by a man who believed he had uncovered the address of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last month.
The problem is, the address does not belong to Zimmerman, but to the McClains, who have a son named William George Zimmerman who lived there in 1995 and still lives in Central Florida.
He is no relation to George Zimmerman, 28, who killed Trayvon on Feb. 26, sparking national outrage and international interest. Zimmerman has claimed self defense and has not been arrested.
After Lee's retweet, the couple's other son says, the McClains have been forced to flee their home and live in a hotel given the rapidly spreading threats of violence against the real Zimmerman.
Which dovetails with a post that Ace wrote earlier today, in language that likely wouldn't be approved by the keepers of the bland institutional tones of the Orlando Sentinel:
If I were a c***s*cker, and advising that elderly couple that non-filmmaker Spike Lee endangered, I'd tell them to incur some costs.
Because you can't have a lawsuit without costs. For one thing, you have to be able to show the costs you incurred due to your tortfeasor's actions.
For another thing, it's going to be hard to sell a claim of emotional duress if you just chillax at home. Like, you claim you feared for your life, but then you sit home and watch Matlock, same as before.
So if I were a real c***s*cker, advising these folks -- I'm sorry, that's offensive, I meant Person of C***s*cking -- I would tell them "Go to a hotel and keep the receipt."
Ace also links to a post by film/commercial maker Ladd Ehlinger Jr. on Lee. Ehlinger writes, "Lee once made movies about the dangers of the mob mentality." Though based on interviews he did to promote Do The Right Thing, he seemed to advocate a violent mob when it suited his purposes; he would be far from the first the first on the left to do so. In case, as Ehlinger writes in 2012, Lee, "in a fit of pique," seeks to drive that mob "and innocent people are having their lives ruined:"
These are the tactics of a bully that can't shoot straight.
Twitter has seen fit to do nothing about this, even though this is a clear violation of its Terms of Service. The person who originally posted the erroneous information and got Spike Lee to retweet it, @maccapone, is also still on Twitter.
In case you missed it, here is the relevant Twitter rule:You may not publish or post other people's private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, street address or Social Security/National Identity numbers, without their express authorization and permission.
Rules are rules, Twitter. That one in particular has some wisdom to it. The question is, will you enforce it, despite Spike Lee's fame, fortune, and connections to President Obama, or will you be an instrument of terror in the world? How many innocent bystanders will be forced to flee their homes and fear for their lives because of your corporate cowardice?
Or does Twitter condone this type of thuggery?
Ehlinger's post is titled, "He's Got to Have It." And based on the article above from the Orlando Sentinel, he just may, in a court of law.
Meanwhile, Jim Treacher, responding to the plight of the McClains, the septuagenarian Florida teachers whose lives have been upended via Spike and other celebrity rabble-rousers adds:
Hey, if these two didn’t want to be intimidated and terrorized by an angry movie director and his online followers, they should’ve thought about that before they moved into the house where, 10 years later, somebody would think Zimmerman lived.
If you’re against vigilantes taking matters into their own hands, except when it comes to dealing with George Zimmerman, #YouMightBeALiberal.
I notice Spike hasn’t been working much lately. I hope he’s been saving his money. Lawyers can be expensive.
P.S. Of course, we shouldn’t rush to judgment on this until we know which one of Obama’s parents the McClains more closely resemble.
Actually, while Spike once declared that while the calendar would eventually be measured as "B.B.: Before Barack and A.B.: After Barack," based on this early 1990s quote, repeated today on the Popehat blog, he would be much less circumspect had he ever met Mr. Obama's parents:
I don't recall exactly when I concluded that Spike Lee is an asshole, but I think it was around the time he told Esquire “I give interracial couples a look. Daggers. They get uncomfortable when they see me on the street.” I've long viewed hostility to interracial couples a reliable tell for self-involved douchebaggery, and now that I have a multiracial family my impression is only confirmed.
The Esquire quote is referenced in this 1993 L.A. Times article, which adds another charming statement by Lee:
"Black South Africans are gonna have to kill people. . . . That Gandhian (stuff) don't work. They gotta start picking up guns. . . . I went to South Africa. I saw those little kids chanting, 'One bullet, one settler.' It's gonna come to that. I'll be rejoicing. Who knows? We might see the same tactic here some day."
--Spike Lee, insights gleaned shooting "Malcolm X" (Esquire, Oct.).
Yesterday, Victor Davis Hanson wrote:
So far all that is clear is that there is a growing anger among African-Americans about a failure to immediately arrest the shooter that in turn is provoking an even greater backlash against the antics of Al Sharpton, the creepy bounty offered by the New Black Panther Party, and others who inflame for their own careerist advantage, and no one — not the president, not the media, not the civil rights leadership, not the politicians — seems willing or able to call for a time-out until all the facts are reviewed and released. We have collectively regressed to the days of Rodney King and the L.A. riots and the O. J. Simpson trial — or to something far worse. Hope and change came and went.
Arguably, Tinseltown has merely been standing still, having gone from the racism of D.W. Griffith to the racialism of Spike Lee in less than a century. For a big picture town, sometimes you sure need a microscope to measure cinematic progress.
Update (7:00 PM PDT): Amazing what the prospect of a lawsuit can do to focus the mind:
Or as Jonah Goldberg tweets in response, "Shorter @SpikeLee I meant to direct death threats and intimidation to someone else's house. My bad."
More: The Twitter Hall of Shame notes, "Lee just apologized for his retweet...But he still has not deleted the tweet with the McClains’ address" -- and it is indeed still up as 0f 7:40 PM Pacific tonight. (Address redacted for obvious reasons):
And speaking of Twitter, as Dan Riehl writes at Big Journalism, a "Kill Zimmerman" account has been created, and as of the time of this post, also remains online, also in violation of Twitter's rules.
Exit question: "Civility: Will Obama Return $1.6 Million Raised by Spike Lee?"
(Bumped to top.)