Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg warned of "genocide" due to "collective hate" as his Academy Award-winning movie about the Holocaust — "Schindler's List" — is re-released to theaters this week to mark its 25th anniversary.
Spielberg sat down with "NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt not long after the mass murder at a Pittsburgh synagogue and said his drama — a true story about a German businessman who saved over a thousand Jews from Nazi death camps by employing them in his factory — is more important today than ever.
"I think this is maybe the most important time to re-release this film," Spielberg said, adding that "there is more at stake today" than when audiences first saw "Schindler's List" in the early 1990s.
Spielberg also sounded an alarm as he sees "racism" and "xenophobia" on the rise.
"When collective hate organizes and gets industrialized, then genocide follows," the director warned, adding that "we have to take it more seriously today than I think we have had to take it in a generation."
Here's the interview. The relevant portion begins just after the 18-minute mark:
Steven Spielberg, activist
Spielberg has taken up a visibly activist mantle amid Donald Trump's presidency, heavily donating to Democratic political causes and making movies with a left-wing edge — as was the case with his 2017 film "The Post," which focused on the Washington Post's coverage of the Pentagon Papers during the tumultuous presidency of Richard Nixon.
"I could not believe the similarities between today and what happened with the Nixon administration against their avowed enemies the New York Times and the Washington Post," Spielberg told The Hollywood Reporter of when he first read the script. "I realized this was the only year to make this film."
He added that Trump's battles with the media had been hitting home in a personal way.
"This was a topic that was scaring everybody I know on my side of the [political] street — and quite rightly," he said.
Spielberg also told the magazine that "our conversations have turned into skirmishes. We live in an area where we don't know a lot of red-state voters. Well, I know a lot because I have friends and family in other parts of this country, and so at dinner-table conversations outside of California, I'm completely mute or I get into these huge rows. The gray and the blue have become the blue and the red. And it is as vast a chasm as our nation faced before the Civil War. I've never seen anything like it."