Spike Lee Removes 9/11 Conspiracists from HBO Documentary After Criticism

Quickly responding to criticism that an episode of his HBO documentary series on the Sept. 11 attacks gave credence to conspiracy theories, the filmmaker Spike Lee on Thursday released to the media a new final cut that removes all interviews about what caused the World Trade Center buildings to collapse.

Mr. Lee’s series, “NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½,” explores how the city weathered both the terrorist attacks and the coronavirus pandemic through interviews with New Yorkers and footage from the crises. The first part of the four-episode eight-hour series debuted on Sunday. The final segment — which was the subject of the criticism — is scheduled to air on the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

The episode, which was cut down from two hours to 90 minutes, had prominently featured interviews with members of the conspiracy group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth — who push the debunked view that the buildings were brought down by a controlled demolition, not by terror attacks. Arguments from the conspiracy group had been juxtaposed with interviews of experts who had studied the collapse as part of a government inquiry, including S. Shyam Sunder, who led a yearslong investigation into the disaster for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

In the new edit, the entire 30-minute discussion is removed.

After The New York Times published an interview with Mr. Lee in which he defended the episode, he and HBO were denounced online by journalists who criticized them for appearing to give equal voice to both sides.

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SOURCE: The New York Times, Julia Jacobs and Reggie Ugwu

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