Spike Lee announces he will boycott 2016 Academy Awards because of #OscarsSoWhite nominations

For the second consecutive year, all 20 acting nominees are white

Spike Lee has revealed that he will not be attending next month’s Academy Awards because of the lack of diversity in this year’s nominations.

For the second consecutive year, all 20 acting nominees are white, which caused the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag to start trending again when the shortlist was announced last Thursday (January 14).

Lee, the recipient of an honorary Oscar last year, wrote on Instagram earlier today (January 18) that he and his wife Tonya Lewis Lee had decided in protest to decline their invitation to the annual awards ceremony.

“We cannot support it and [I] mean no disrespect to my friends, host Chris Rock and producer Reggie Hudlin, president [Cheryl Boone] Isaacs and the Academy,” Lee wrote. “But, how is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the acting category are white? And let’s not even get into the other branches. Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can’t act?! WTF!!”

However, Lee added that the “real battle” for diverse representation on film and TV screens does not lie with the Academy Awards, but “in the executive offices of the Hollywood studios and TV and cable networks,” where “the gate keepers decide what gets made and what gets jettisoned”.

“People, the truth is we ain’t in those rooms, and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain lilly (sic) white,” Lee concluded. See his full Instagram post below.

#OscarsSoWhite… Again. I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let’s Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can’t Act?! WTF!! It’s No Coincidence I’m Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday. Dr. King Said “There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It’s Right”. For Too Many Years When The Oscars Nominations Are Revealed, My Office Phone Rings Off The Hook With The Media Asking Me My Opinion About The Lack Of African-Americans And This Year Was No Different. For Once, (Maybe) I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed It Then I Stand Mistaken. As I See It, The Academy Awards Is Not Where The “Real” Battle Is. It’s In The Executive Office Of The Hollywood Studios And TV And Cable Networks. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To “Turnaround” Or Scrap Heap. This Is What’s Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With “The Green Light” Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, “I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS”. People, The Truth Is We Ain’t In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White. (Cont’d)

A photo posted by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on

This year’s Academy Awards take place in Los Angeles on February 28, hosted by Chris Rock. Check out the full list of nominations here.