Marvel Comics writer-editor Stan Lee passed away on Monday, however, a newspaper in New Zealand mistakenly called him Spike Lee, the American film director. Yes, The Gisborne Herald in their front page on Tuesday correctly used the photo of the 95-year-old Marvel legend but wrote, “Characters first, superheroes next: Spike Lee dies at 95.” The gaffe quickly garnered attention from people all over the world and the front page of the Kiwi paper went viral, sadly, not for the right reasons.
Many took to social media to share the snapshot of the front page and while thought it was a funny mistake, others were miffed.
— Deep Fried Man (@DeepFriedMan) November 14, 2018
Wow Bruce Lee, Spike Lee, Stan Lee, I guess it’s hard to tell all the famous Lee’s apart! 👍 pic.twitter.com/jqN39AuA0G
— Mr. ProperHandshake (@MacWenz) November 14, 2018
Spike Lee, Stan Lee, Bruce Lee. Arragh, it’s one of the Lees who’s dead. pic.twitter.com/kwX37VXQpb
— Declan Varley (@declanvarley) November 14, 2018
Lay of off the weed New Zealand
How could you mix up Stan Lee from Spike Lee
Two completely different people!! pic.twitter.com/2TMJA3I9qQ
— Leland (@PorteLeland) November 14, 2018
Stan Lee, Bruce Lee, Spike Lee, Robert Lee – all these Lees look alike (!!????!?!) pic.twitter.com/FyhvJxM2H5
— Arjun ♨️ (@arjun_siva) November 14, 2018
They didn’t do the right thing.
— Billybob69 (@WillieMcAlpine) November 13, 2018
Three shocks this morning! Not only is Spike Lee dead!! 💀 He was also 95 and… WHITE! RIP Stan Lee and the Gisbourne Herald sub pic.twitter.com/C3IxwosPpT
— Nick Michael Copson (@NickMCopson) November 13, 2018
— King 𓅓 (@Philip0Turner) November 13, 2018
— West Ham & Money (@Wham2214) November 13, 2018
As the photo started doing rounds across social media platforms, Spike Lee, best known for his fierce commentary on US race relations in films like BlacKKKlLansman, Do The Right Thing, and Malcolm X, decided to reply to the goof-up in his known characteristic style. Taking to Instagram, the film director wrote, “God Bless Stan Lee. Me? Not Yet. And Dat’s Da ‘I’m Still A Live, And Strivin’ Truth, Ruth.”
While the Gisborne Herald acknowledged the mistake on its website on Wednesday, the editors didn’t offer an apology. Instead, they reported on how the paper grabbed “international spotlight” for the headline gaffe. However, according to a report by Stuff, Gisborne Herald editor Jeremy Muir said the headline gaffe was “really embarrassing.” The report quoted him saying, “People are having a bit of fun with it. That’s fine. It’s just really embarrassing. It’s a human mistake.”