Spike Lee’s sprawling, eight-hour docuseries NYC Epicenters 9/11➔2021½ premiered its first of four installments on HBO this past Sunday. The series explores how the Black Lives Matter movement, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the September 11, 2001, attacks have shaped New York City over the past two decades. Lee interviews figures including Dr. Anthony Fauci, Bill de Blasio, and Jon Stewart, but many early viewers of the series’s screeners have taken issue with episode four, wherein Lee platforms members of the conspiracy group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. Not only does Lee interview members of this group of skeptics, but according to Variety’s review of the series, he’s “in clear agreement with the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth calling for a new investigation.”
Today, the New York Times reported that following widespread criticism of Lee’s inclusion of these debunked groups, Lee will be editing the upcoming episode. In a note on the screener site, Lee posted on Wednesday, “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 a series that directly addresses the crises of COVID-19 (made worse by anti-vaxx conspiracy movements) and the QAnon-fueled January 6 insurrections, it is especially notable that Lee would allow space for conspiracy groups in his 9/11 coverage. Lee even parroted the debunked “jet fuel can’t melt steel beams” conspiracy myth in an interview with the Times on Monday, saying, “The amount of heat that it takes to make steel melt, that temperature’s not reached,” and that he hopes the series leads to a congressional investigation.