Lee Daniels has seen the light, and he curses the U.S. for keeping him in the dark so long.
Daniels, the director of Precious and Lee Daniels’ The Butler, spent the past week as jury head of the Dubai International Film Festival.
The experience, plus watching Middle Eastern films from the festival, convinced him to share his new views on Arabic culture with The Hollywood Reporter.
What I’ve learned is that I’ve been brainwashed. I have been brainwashed since a child about the Arabic culture,” he said, joking that his publicist wasn’t around and his comments were likely to to get him into trouble.
“I have been brainwashed, and I am embarrassed about it. I’m ashamed.
Daniels went further, blasting the U.S. for creating an erroneous image of the Middle East via the media. He also intimated the region’s problems were partly the result of America not doing enough to lend a hand.
But I’ve learned there are peaceful people. And the injustices and the atrocities that have happened are insurmountable. That America does not lend the support that they should. And it’s not right.
According to The Huffington Post, the U.S. has invested $299 billion in both economic and military aid to Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries over the past six decades.
Daniels may have spread some misinformation himself last year through his film The Butler. The movie depicted President Ronald Reagan, portrayed by Alan Rickman, as a racist. That charge was immediately debunked by the president’s biographers, including Craig Shirley.
It’s unclear if Daniels’ Arab-centric revelations will make their way into any of his future films. He’s currently starting production on a biopic of late comic legend Richard Pryor. Daniels did tell THR that he will team with Oprah Winfrey, who has a role in his Pryor film, to share his Middle East-based lessons.