Director Spike Lee has spoken about his decision to boycott this year’s Oscars at the Berlin International Film Festival while premiering his latest movie Chi-Raq. Lee announced in January that he would not be attending this year’s ceremony, due to the lack of diversity among the nominees.

Spike LeeSpike Lee has spoken about his decision to boycott this year’s Academy Awards.

When asked about the Oscars diversity debate, Lee said he and his wife “never called a boycott. We just said we’re not going.” “Every year if you add up all the actor categories, there are 20 spots open and in the last two years not a single person of colour has been nominated,” Lee continued.

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“So, if you’re a sports fan and added it up, it would be white folks: 40, people of colour: zero. There were a lot of fine performances that I felt got overlooked, so my wife and I said mutually we’re not going to go.”

Lee added that he believes the “ruckus” that has surrounded this year’s awards has been positive, after the Academy announced plans to diversify its membership going forward. The director said if the debate hadn’t happened, “I believe the Academy would not have made changes, so it was worth it.”

But the debate about diversity in Hollywood is not limited to the Oscars. “The Academy Awards is not the problem,” the director continued. “The problem has been with our gatekeepers. At the executive level at studios and networks and cable, they sit in a room every quarter and decide what we’re going to make and not make. The majority of the people are white men, so if there’s not diversity there, that’s what’s in the movies.”

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Lee was also asked if he believed that this year’s host, Chris Rock, should have made the decision to step down following the controversy. “He should do whatever he wants to do,” Lee said. “He’s a grown-ass man.”