The Sanford, Fla. address Lee tweeted out to his more than 250,000 followers actually belongs to an elderly couple, David McClain, 72, and his 70-year-old wife Elaine, who subsequently received threats and hate mail directed at Zimmerman, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The negative attention, along with a few visits from reporters seeking Zimmerman, forced the bewildered couple to temporarily move into a hotel.
The Smoking Gun originally traced the tweet back to a California man, who sent the erroneous address to other celebrities including 50 Cent, LeBron James and Will Smith last Friday.
Lee’s blunder sparked a backlash of criticism accusing him of provoking vigilante justice. Before apologizing, Lee responded to some of the dozens of attack tweets and said to one, “I want justice, not a lynch mob. Wake the hell up.”
The Oscar-winning director has since issued an apology to the couple, asking they be left alone.
I Deeply Apologize To The McClain Family For Retweeting Their Address.It Was A Mistake.Please Leave The McClain's In Peace.Justice In Court—
Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) March 29, 2012