Spike Lee sued over George Zimmerman address mix-up
Tuesday 12 Nov 2013 4:38 p.m.
Spike Lee (AAP)
Director Spike Lee has been hit with a lawsuit after mistakenly publicising the address of an elderly couple in Florida in a mix-up over the whereabouts of controversial shooter George Zimmerman.
The He Got Game filmmaker was so furious following the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February, 2012, he used his Twitter.com blog to share the address of neighbourhood watch volunteer Zimmerman, who fatally shot the unarmed youngster in his gated community, sparking outrage and protests across the US.
However, the location Lee retweeted was actually the home of Elaine and David McClain, who have a son named William George Zimmerman - no relation to the Zimmerman involved in the headline-grabbing case.
The director apologised after learning the McClains were forced to flee their over his blunder, and he agreed to compensate the family for his actions.
Now it appears the settlement was not enough - the McClains have filed legal papers seeking further, unspecified damages, accusing Lee of putting their lives in serious danger, according to TMZ.com.
The plaintiffs claim Lee's tweet encouraged "a dangerous mob mentality" and they allege that they were subjected to death threats and hate mail and lived in constant fear for their safety.
Lee has since admitted it was a "stupid" mistake and reveals he received a scolding from his own wife, Tonya.
In an interview with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, which aired on the weekend, he said, "I don't know what my intention was (for tweeting the address). (I was just) angry... but angry is not a justification for stupidity... There's nothing I can say that can defend what I did. It was stupid...
"It was not a good time in the Lee household at that time... You gotta be a man, say, 'I made a mistake', and learn from it, because you can't do stuff that's going to affect other people's lives."
Shooter Zimmerman was acquitted of Martin's murder earlier this year - a decision which sparked a further wave of demonstrations and inspired many leading African-American human rights leaders and celebrities, including Jay Z and Beyonce, to speak out.