Slow Burn: David Duke

Season 4: Bonus Episode 3
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What It’s Like to Play David Duke

Actor Topher Grace on portraying an infamous bigot for Spike Lee’s BlackKklansman.

Episode Notes

In this bonus episode, Slow Burn’s host Josh Levin and producer Christopher Johnson discuss the decision not to interview David Duke for the podcast, and Duke’s Senate run in 1990. Then we have an interview with actor Topher Grace, who portrayed Duke in the 2018 Spike Lee film, BlackKklansman.

Production by Chau Tu.

About the Show

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a white supremacist became an American political phenomenon. David Duke’s rise to power and prominence—his election to the Louisiana Legislature, and then his campaigns for the U.S. Senate and the governorship—was an existential crisis for the state and the nation. The fourth season of Slate’s Slow Burn will explore how a Nazi sympathizer and former Klansman fashioned himself into a mainstream figure, and why some voters came to embrace his message. It will also examine how activists, journalists, and ordinary citizens confronted Duke’s candidacy, and what it took to stop him.

The season is hosted by Josh Levin, a longtime Slow Burn editor and native Louisianian.

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