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Spike Lee Writes a Check to Rectify Twitter Mistake

Spike Lee
Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images

Movie director Spike Lee has proven that while money may not buy happiness, it can sure keep you out of court. He paid an undisclosed sum to the couple whose lives were turned upside down when he sent out a tweet with their home address, thinking it belonged to someone else.

Last week, Lee retweeted a missive to his 250,000 Twitter followers that he thought revealed the address of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin in February and who’s currently in hiding. Only the address wasn’t Zimmerman’s at all — it belonged to an elderly couple with a son whose middle name is George and last name is Zimmerman, but who has no connection to the tragedy.

As a result of the tweet, David and Elaine McClain received hate mail, death threats, and countless inquiries from the media, which forced them to flee their Orlando, Fla. home and move into a hotel. And while Spike did eventually issue a public apology and retraction — again, through his Twitter account — the couple retained a lawyer and threatened suit.

By Thursday, though, the whole matter was put to rest when Lee let his giant bank balance do the talking. The McClain’s attorney, Matt Morgan, said:

“At this point in time, we have come to an agreement with Spike Lee and his attorneys, and at this point, the matter is fully resolved. Spike has agreed to compensate the McClains for their loss and for the disruption into their lives. He’s taken full responsibility.”

The ‘Do the Right Thing’ director even followed his own advice, picking up the phone to personally apologize to the couple.

“He was really kind,” said Mrs. McClain. “And when he called us, you could just tell he really felt bad about it. And it was just a slip, and I just know that he really, really has been concerned.”

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