"We can unlearn hate": Steven Spielberg and Alex Gibney talk new docuseries

"Why We Hate": Steven Spielberg on docuseries

Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg is behind a powerful new documentary series set to air Sunday on the Discovery Channel. "Why We Hate" is a six-part series that takes a close look at hatred and how we can fight it.

"Why We Hate" argues hate is human and hard-wired into our DNA.

"This has been a subject that has been very close to me personally and a subject that seems to be even more relevant today compared to even 10 years ago," Spielberg told CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.

Asked whether it's a legacy project, Spielberg said he doesn't think of it as one. "I think of it as sort of a mandatory project," he said.

"Has hate become a new normal?" Strassmann asked. 

"No," Spielberg said. "I think hate is the constant abnormal."

Spielberg's co-executive producer is Alex Gibney, the Oscar-winning documentarian.

"One of the first things we thought about was finding hate detectives – people who are not presenters, who are not lecturers, but people who would explore," Gibney said. Those "hate detectives" begin with a team of cognitive and evolutionary scientists who dig into hate's origins. 

The series searches for answers and brings hate alive with personal stories of haters – and those targeted by hate.

Spielberg said he identified with "what it feels like to be bullied, which I was as an elementary school and high school student for a while."

Sam Pollard and Geeta Gandbhir co-directed the series.

"I was told that I was different. I've been told to go back to where I came from," Gandbhir said.

"People around the world can watch this series and see some of themselves. And maybe rethink their own attitudes," Pollard added.

Take sports. "Why We Hate" explores how rabid rooting for your team can spark tribalism – hatred on a group scale – the same us versus them mindset behind much of the world's misery.  

"Did you say to yourself, you know what, if I'm being honest, I'm kinda guilty of that, too?" Strassmann asked.

"I'm certainly guilty about snap judgments. I'm guilty about impulsive behavior. But some of that has led to interesting movies. So some of that has an application in my life which, I don't want to divest myself of," Spielberg said with a laugh.

Spielberg and Gibney hope people will watch the series as critical thinkers of the world and of ourselves. 

"The human brain is a changeable system. And we can unlearn hate just as quickly as we acquire it," Spielberg said.

"Our hope is our ability as human beings to access the better angels of our nature," Gibney said.