Thanks to the alert 5FF reader who sent in this explanation — which, like all the good stuff, comes from deep within the comments:
Asshole or not, you’ll probably find financing for your film if it looks like it may be profitable.
Spike is perhaps a victim of the international sales market: it used to be the case that you could finance a good portion (not all of it, but a good portion) of your film through foreign pre-sales.
The overseas market is notoriously unreceptive to African-American films – whether pitched primarily or tangentially towards a black audience, foreign sales companies are loath to try to sell any movies to a distributor that includes some portion that’s ‘black specialty interest.’ So ‘black films’ remain extremely hard to produce since, whether or not it manifests itself in tickets sold, foreign sales agents see those movies as tough sells to distributors. And despite the current unfashionability of foreign pre-sales in constructing the financing picture of an independent film, the overseas prospects of any film where that’s not a gimme (i.e. Transformers 3 or Thor) remain an important part of raising funds.
Our emailer adds:
So basically it’s not the U.S. that’s racist and doesn’t want to see Spike’s films, but the rest of the world – Europe and Asia – where they don’t like black people!
So when will Spike Lee make his new documentary, The EU Are A Bunch Of Racist, Cracker Bitches.