Spike Lee Says He Is Re-Editing 9/11 Chapter Of HBO’s ‘NYC Epicenters’ Amid Backlash

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Deadline 25 August, 2021 - 03:19pm 13 views

Professional dancer Serge Onik, who is best known for competing on So You Think You Can Dance, has died. He was only 33.

“He was an amazing dancer with a huge heart and he touched the lives of everyone who met him,” president of The Movement Talent Agency, Jim Keith, said in a statement to Us Weekly on Tuesday, August 24. “He will be truly missed. This is a sad day for us at the agency and for the dance community as a whole. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family at this time.”

The circumstances surrounding his death are unknown at this time.

The Ukraine native made a name for himself in Hollywood after placing in the top 14 on season 11 of So You Think You Can Dance in 2014. He went on to work closely with Dancing With the Stars pros Maksim Chmerkosvkiy and Val Chmerkovskiy as a choreographer on their ABC routines.

Onik was most recently seen as a dancer in 2021’s In the Heights. He was also a teacher at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City. His other notable TV credits include Agent Carter, Bones and Jane the Virgin.

The choreographer’s credits span a variety of genres and shows, including working on the Wynn Resorts Company’s La Reve, The Wynn New Year’s Show, SWAY: A Dance Trilogy, and Zendaya’s Neverland. Onik also worked closely with the NY Knicks City Dancers and many ice skaters.

TV host Kristyn Burtt, who interviewed Onik many times over the years, expressed her sadness over his passing on Tuesday.

“My heart is broken. Besides being such an incredible talent, you were a great friend. You will be so missed, @sergeonik. ,” she wrote via Instagram.

Ballroom dancer Elena Grinenko shared a throwback photo in honor of the late performer, captioning it, “RIP @sergeonik. We going to miss you . I’m so sad that [the] world lost such an amazing person like you.”

Figure skater Ashley Cain-Gribble also penned a message of love to Onik via social media. “This will hurt for forever. rest in peace angel,” she wrote. “I am lucky to have lived on this planet at the same time as you .”

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Spike Lee Is Re-Editing His 9/11 Docuseries Following Truther Backlash

Pajiba 25 August, 2021 - 09:30pm

After facing backlash for his remarks about not believing the official government story on the 9/11 attacks, Spike Lee is re-editing the final episode of his HBO docuseries, which reportedly featured 9/11 truthers. (Variety)

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Spike Lee Is Re-editing 9/11 Docuseries After Criticism For Featuring Conspiracy Theorists

HuffPost 25 August, 2021 - 05:52pm

In an interview with the New York Times’ Reggie Ugwu published Tuesday, Lee defended his use of the conspiracy theories, saying he intended to “let people decide for themselves.” Yet he also said he himself has “questions,” and suggested Congress hold a new hearing on the attacks.

Spike Lee is re-editing the 9/11 truther segment of his 9/11 doc

The A.V. Club 25 August, 2021 - 04:20pm

But, it looks like the heat can melt Lee’s resolve because the filmmaker is “back in the editing room” and reworking the final episode of his series. In a statement released today, Lee said, “I’m Back In The Editing Room And Looking At The Eighth And Final Chapter Of NYC EPICENTERS 9/11➔2021½. I Respectfully Ask You To Hold Your Judgement Until You See The FINAL CUT.”

Spike Lee Re-Edits HBO Sept. 11 Series That Features Conspiracists

New York Post 25 August, 2021 - 02:35pm

An episode of the eight-hour documentary series has drawn criticism for giving a platform to people who have long peddled debunked claims about what caused the towers to collapse.

Facing mounting criticism for spotlighting conspiracy theorists in his new HBO documentary series about the Sept. 11 attacks on New York, the filmmaker Spike Lee said Wednesday that he was re-editing the final episode.

Mr. Lee’s HBO series, “NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½,” explores the effect of the terrorist attacks and the coronavirus pandemic on New York City. The final episode, which is scheduled to air on the 20th anniversary of the attacks, prominently featured members of the conspiracy group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, who push the debunked idea that the towers of the World Trade Center were brought down by a controlled demolition, not by terrorists who flew jetliners into the Twin Towers. Their inclusion in the documentary series, which was made available for preview by members of the media, has been widely criticized in recent days.

In a note to the media that was posted Wednesday on an HBO platform that provides early access to television shows and films, Mr. Lee wrote: “I’m Back In The Editing Room And Looking At The Eighth And Final Chapter Of NYC EPICENTERS 9/11➔2021½. I Respectfully Ask You To Hold Your Judgment Until You See The FINAL CUT.”

In the version of the episode provided to the media, Mr. Lee also included the perspectives of scientists who investigated the attacks and who refute the conspiracy theorists’ claims, including S. Shyam Sunder, who led a yearslong investigation into the attacks for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. But critics complained that the episode seemed to balance the perspectives of the conspiracy theorists and experts who deeply studied the issue, even appearing at times to side with the conspiracy theorists.

At one point, after Mr. Sunder asks Mr. Lee whether his explanation of events has sufficiently answered his questions, Mr. Lee, breaking into laughter, responds, “Well, not really.”

Jeremy Stahl, an editor at Slate, condemned Lee and HBO’s handling of the subject. “In terms of conveying facts, this is a bit like presenting Covid-19 vaccine skeptics in a debate alongside Anthony Fauci, or Holocaust deniers alongside the Simon Wiesenthal Center, or a clique of climate change skeptics alongside the authors of the United Nations IPCC report,” he wrote.

In social media posts, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth cheered their inclusion in the series, writing, “Get ready for Episode 4 on September 11, 2021!”

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Mr. Lee had defended the inclusion of members of the conspiracy group, said that he still had questions about what caused the buildings to collapse and added that he hoped “Congress holds a hearing, a congressional hearing about 9/11.”

Pushing for further investigations of Sept. 11 has been a longtime goal of the so-called “truther” movement. The movement, which used the internet as an organizing tool and rallied behind low-budget web films like “Loose Change,” has never had much political success. But it did succeed in sowing doubt about the official Sept. 11 narrative. A 2016 study by Chapman University found that more than half of Americans believed that the government had deliberately concealed information about the attacks.

The success of 9/11 conspiracy theories also paved the way for more recent internet-based misinformation campaigns, such as QAnon and the anti-vaccine movement, many of which adapted the tools and techniques that had been used by Sept. 11 conspiracists years earlier.

Mr. Lee seemed to cast doubt on the official explanation of the collapse of the buildings, including 7 World Trade Center, which investigators determined was brought down by fire. They concluded that heat from the fire caused girders in the steel floor to expand, and steel beams underneath the floors that provided lateral support for the tower’s structural columns began to buckle or put pressure against the vertical structural columns.

“The amount of heat that it takes to make steel melt, that temperature’s not reached,” Mr. Lee told The Times, echoing a popular 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. But people going to make up their own mind. My approach is put the information in the movie and let people decide for themselves. I respect the intelligence of the audience.”

Mr. Lee’s series received a boost from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who featured Mr. Lee at a news conference last week, announcing that parts of it would been screened before its official release as part of NYC Homecoming Week, a cultural festival intended to celebrate the city’s progress as it tries to emerge from the pandemic.

“What he has created — absolutely unbelievable,” Mr. de Blasio said at the news conference, “and it’s about us and it’s a time to appreciate who we are.”

It was not clear if other episodes would be re-edited as well. In the third episode, Mr. Lee asks Curtis Beatty, a former flight attendant with United Airlines, about Flight 93, which was hijacked but never reached its intended target because passengers and crew members tried to retake the plane and it ended up crashing in Pennsylvania: “Do you believe that the flight crew and the passengers crashed the plane? Or was it shot down?”

“I believe it was shot down,” Mr. Beatty says.

The condemnation of parts of the series was swift but limited because the final episode had not been available to the public; even officials at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum had yet to see it. In a statement, a spokeswoman for the museum, Lee S. Cochran, said the institution was “focused on the facts.”

“We acknowledge the existence of conspiracy theories and theorists as a phenomenon of the post-9/11 world,” she said, “but we categorically reject such claims as incorrect and invalid.”

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