Legendary film director Spike Lee told "The View" Friday that films such as "Gone With the Wind" that have been criticized for their depictions of of African-Americans should remain accessible to the public.
"Well, ironically, [Lee's 2018 film] 'BlacKkKlansman' begins with one of the most famous shots of all cinema -- the scene where Scarlett O’Hara is walking amongst the dead and wounded after the big battle in the Civil War," Lee said.
"I think that that should be seen," Lee added. "I think that one of the most racist films ever, D.W. Griffith's 'Birth of a Nation' should be seen. I show that film in my class. I’m a tenured professor at NYU ... I show 'Birth of a Nation.'"
Lee's comments came days after streaming service HBO Max dropped "Gone with the Wind" before indicating it would be returned to the service with additional context surrounding its racial content.
"The View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg recently pushed back on HBO's decision, as well as Paramount's cancellation of the long-running reality show "COPS."
"Personally, I think if you put things in a historical context — because if you start pulling every film ... you're going to have to pull all of the blaxploitation movies because they're not depicting us the right way," said Goldberg. "That's a very long list of films."
"If you put, before you show the film, 'Listen, this was shot when things were different, and we don't, you know, we don't do this anymore,' that's what — you have to put something in context," she added. "And I think with 'Cops,' listen, if you balance the people you arrest — if you arrested everybody, if you make it widespread, white people, yellow people, brown people, if everybody's getting arrested, you can have 'Cops.'
"It just feels like it's a whole bunch of black people all the time. I'm just saying."
Goldberg does have a tenuous tie to "Gone with the Wind." In 1991, she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in "Ghost." Goldberg was the second African-American woman to win an Academy Award for acting. The first, Hattie McDaniel, won the same prize 51 years earlier for her performance as the slave Mammy in "Gone with the Wind."