David Duke was not a fan of his portrayal in Spike Lee’s incisive new film The BlacKkKlansman.
The film is based on the true story of how black Colorado Springs detective Ron Stallworth infiltrated a local chapter of the KKK. Stallworth regularly conversed with Duke over the phone and used the information he gleaned from both Duke and local Klansmen to thwart planned marches. In the film, he’s played by That ’70s Show actor Topher Grace and Lee go to great lengths to heighten the absurdity of Duke spewing Klan philosophy with a black man on the other end of the line.
Duke called the real-life Stallworth to say that he was worried about looking bad in Spike Lee’s latest.
“He wanted to talk about the fact that he’s concerned about how he is going to be portrayed in this film,” Stallworth said in an interview with NBC Nightly News. “He complimented Spike. He said, ‘I’ve always respected Spike Lee.’ Which surprised the heck out of me.”
Duke’s only direct response to the movie was a podcast where he said the film was “brainwashing” Americans to hate white people.
Duke famously served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1989 to 1992, representing Metairie. He also came close to the Governor’s mansion, getting into the run-off in the 1991 election that eventually saw Edwin Edwards win. He won 32 percent of the vote in Louisiana’s open primary before taking a beating from Edwards in the run-off. While many people rallied behind Edwards to keep Duke out, handing him 62 percent of the vote, it’s worth noting that nearly four in 10 Louisiana voters saw nothing wrong with voting for a white supremacist. Even in 2016, nearly 60,000 Louisianans thought it was proper to vote for Duke in a campaign for U.S. Senate.
“That’s a compliment I don’t need,” he said.