Spike Lee is hitting back at critics who claim that he is abusing Kickstarter by using the social media platform to raise money for his next film.
"I'm bringing people to Kickstarter who never even heard of Kickstarter. I'm talking [about] a lot of people of color who've never heard of Kickstarter, who've never made a pledge on Kickstarter," Lee told the filmmaking site Film Courage. "So I really think it's a fallacy, it's a misconception, and it's just plain-out wrong, with a capital W."
Lee is not along among established Hollywood types who have turned to Kickstarter in recent months to get funding for passion projects. "Scrubs" star Zach Braff used the site to score backing for his next directorial effort and Kristen Bell and Rob Thomas were able to secure a greenlight for a film based on their TV show "Veronica Mars" after launching a Kickstarter campaign.
Lee said that he has always worked outside the studio system to make his movies and said that Kickstarter is no different than what he has done in the past to cobble financing together.
"We were doing Kickstarter before there was Kickstarter," he said. "We just didn't have the technology. I was making phone calls, making personal visits, writing letters, so we did everything except social media because social media was not around then."
So far Lee has raised more than $360,000 for the project, with a goal of hitting the $1.2 million mark. He said he will not take a fee for his work.
Lee has been tight-lipped about the details of the film, but the director described it on his Kickstarter page as being a "funny, sexy, and bloody" tale about "human beings who are addicted to blood."
In the interview, Lee roundly rejected any intimations that his use of Kickstarter signaled a disinterest in younger filmmakers, pointing to his long association with New York University, where he teaches.
"This little brouhaha about Spike Lee ... Bogarting Kickstarter and he's taking advantage of the young up-and-coming filmmakers is, as my good friend Mike Tyson would say, is ludicrous," he said.