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Filmmaker Spike Lee told CNN's Anderson Cooper that there is "a war on the black male" during an interview Tuesday night. Cooper was in Ferguson, Missouri while he interviewed Lee, who was in the studio.
"There's a war on the black male and it's tearing the country apart," Lee said. "It's not just killing us. It's the educational system, it's the prison system, it's these young black men growing up with no hope. It's systematic. We get blinded to think because we got Oprah, we got Michael Jordan, we got LeBron, we got Beyonce, we got Jay Z, that everything's OK. They are the exception. The black underclass is growing every single day."
Lee, who was born in Atlanta and attended Morehouse, has addressed racial issues and other serious societal topics in his films. He was in Atlanta in 2012 promoting "Red Hook Summer."
During the interview Lee said he thinks the release of information regarding the fatal shooting of Michael Brown has been "orchestrated." He found it suspicious that a video allegedly showing Brown robbing a conveience store and roughing up a clerk was released on the same day that Brown's autopsy was released.
"It is orchestrated. There's a playbook," Lee said. "They're doing what they want to do. They're there to protect their own."
Cooper asked Lee if he thought Brown was completely innocent or if he thought Brown should not have been shot even if he had been engaged in unlawful activity.
"I don't think you should be killed in this country because allegedly you steal some cigarillos," Lee said. "I don't think you should be killed in this country if there's marijuana in your system. The people, not only in Ferguson, but in this country, do not trust what has happened. Something smells bad in Ferguson and it's not just tear gas."