The "Do the Right Thing" director spoke out in defence of Allen during an interview on New York radio show In the Morning on Friday, June 12, 2020, insisting he disagrees with the way his pal has been blacklisted in Hollywood following molestation claims by his estranged daughter, Dylan Farrow.
"I'd just like to say Woody Allen is a great, great filmmaker and this cancel thing is not just Woody," Lee said. "And I think when we look back on it we are going to see that - short of killing somebody - I don't (know) if you can just erase somebody like they never existed."
"Woody is a friend of mine... so I know he's going through it right now," he added.
Lee's comments sparked a backlash on social media, prompting him to walk back his support for Allen in a subsequent post on Twitter.
"I Deeply Apologize," he began. "My Words Were WRONG. I Do Not And Will Not Tolerate Sexual Harassment, Assault Or Violence. Such Treatment Causes Real Damage That Can't Be Minimized.-Truly, Spike Lee."
Dylan, whose adoptive mother is Allen's ex, actress Mia Farrow, maintains Allen sexually assaulted her in the early 1990s, when she was seven. The filmmaker has never been charged, and has repeatedly denied her allegations.
The ongoing drama has stalled several of his more recent film releases, and led a number of his movies' stars to cut ties with Allen, vowing never to work with him again.