In a serious of example of Twitter’s power and its danger when used irresponsibly, Spike Lee is catching heat for “inciting racial violence” by retweeting the home address of a private citizen to his nearly 250,000 Twitter followers over the weekend while justifiably decrying the controversial murder of a teen boy by a neighborhood watch captain in Florida. Full details after the jump.
Some background: Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African American teen walking to the home of his father’s girlfriend, was shot and killed on the night of February 26, 2012 by a local neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman. The killing has generated intense debate into the legality and necessity of Zimmerman’s actions, with some calling his shooting of Martin an act of self defense, and others decrying it as racially-motivated murder (Zimmerman is, for the record, Peruvian/Caucasian).
Director Spike Lee has become one of the most prominent public figures in the debate, stating that the murder of Trayvon was a racially-biased killing of a child. And, in his furor last weekend, Lee retweeted and address that he believed to be Zimmerman’s to his over 249,000 followers on Twitter. It has now been revealed that the address was incorrect—Zimmerman does not and has not lived at that address, an elderly couple named Elaine and David McClain do.
While Lee’s ire over Martin’s killing is wholly understandable, Tweeting the address of a private citizen—Zimmerman’s or otherwise—could potentially lead to violence, considering the heated debate and high flying emotions that are increasingly swirling around this tragic killing. The fact that the address doesn’t even belong to Zimmerman makes Lee’s actions all the more reckless and dangerous.
Currently, conservative commentator Michelle Malkin is leading a public charge against Lee for his actions. On Twitter, Lee is retweeting several of the hateful racist comments and threats that his initial retweet has generated; Lee has stated that it is a comment on “Post-Racial” America.
What do you think of Lee’s decision to retweet the address?