Spike Lee yanks 9/11 conspiracy theorists from HBO documentary series amid scrutiny

A man wearing a black patterned hat and purple glasses
Director Spike Lee’s latest project is a documentary series about COVID-19 and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision / Associated Press)

Prolific director Spike Lee has removed interviews with Sept. 11 conspiracy theorists from his HBO documentary series after raising eyebrows with recent remarks about the 2001 terrorist attacks.

According to the New York Times, a final cut of the fourth episode of Lee‘s “NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½” no longer includes commentary from so-called Sept. 11 truthers or official government investigators regarding what caused the collapses of the World Trade Center buildings.

The reedited final installment — set to air on the 20th anniversary of the national tragedy — comes days after the NYT published a conversation with Lee in which the filmmaker posed “questions” about the fall of the structures.

“NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½,” a four-part saga that premiered its first episode earlier this month, explores New York’s responses to two public crises: Sept. 11 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

While discussing his documentary series about Sept. 11 and the COVID-19 pandemic, Spike Lee raised some skepticism about the 2001 terrorist attacks.

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“I mean, I got questions,” Lee said previously of his decision to spotlight prominent conspiracy theorists the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth in his latest project.

“And I hope that maybe the legacy of this documentary is that Congress holds a hearing, a congressional hearing about 9/11.”

Despite also speaking with reputable scientists who studied the Sept. 11 attacks, the Oscar winner seemed to challenge the widely accepted explanation that the edifices crumbled as a result of the impact and subsequent fires caused by hijacked jetliners crashing into them. (Rogue skeptics, however, believe the structures fell in a controlled demolition orchestrated by an inside group.)

“The amount of heat that it takes to make steel melt, that temperature’s not reached,” Lee said, mentioning a widely debunked conspiracy theory. “And then the juxtaposition of the way Building 7 fell to the ground — when you put it next to other building collapses that were demolitions, it’s like you’re looking at the same thing.”

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After drawing scrutiny for his remarks, Lee announced he was “back in the editing room” and “respectfully” asked viewers to withhold judgment until seeing the final cut of the finale.

The fourth chapter of the series has since shrunk from two hours to 90 minutes, excluding the debate over the fallen towers, according to the New York Times.


The second episode of “NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½” — produced, directed by and featuring Lee — debuts Sunday on HBO Max.