NYPD: ‘Do The Right Thing’ Spray Painted On Brooklyn Home Days After Spike Lee Rant
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Just days after Spike Lee went on a rant about gentrification in New York City, someone vandalized a home next door to where the filmmaker once lived in Brooklyn, 1010 WINS reported Friday.
Police are investigating after someone spray painted “Do The Right Thing” — the title of a movie Lee directed in 1989 — on 164 Washington Park in Fort Greene. The home is next to Lee’s former residence; his jazz musician father still lives there.
Dianne Mackenzie, who lives at the vandalized house, told 1010 WINS her front door window was smashed and vandals spray painted between the downstairs window of her brownstone and the side of her stoop, which is connected to the Lee’s home.
“I think there is a connection between Spike Lee’s comments and the vandalism on my house,” Mackenzie said. “This kind of thing does not happen in this neighborhood, we don’t get graffiti, we don’t have windows vandalized, it just does not happen, it’s unusual, and the coincidence of it happening the day after all of the attention he got it just screams at you that it has to be connected with what he said.”
Mackenzie said during his rant, Lee mentioned his father’s address and that neighbors had complained about music coming from the home.
“They practice a lot and there’s nothing wrong with that, obviously, and I think maybe they thought I might’ve been the neighbor that complained about the music,” Mackenzie said. “I’ve been living here for 18 years and the music’s always been there and I actually enjoy it, I don’t have any problem with it. I was not the person who was complaining about the music.”
Mackenzie said Lee’s stepmother is very upset about the incident.
“I called her this morning to tell her about it because her stoop was sprayed too; it’s on the side where the two properties join facing me, so she wouldn’t have necessarily seen the graffiti.” Mackenzie said. “I said, ‘Hey honey, they got me, they got you, too.'”
“We have a very good relationship with the Lees next door,” Mackenzie added.
The owners said the graffiti will cost thousands of dollars to erase.
Spike Lee’s family apologized to their neighbors.
“And I think Spike needs to stop with whatever situation he was talking about over here ’cause he doesn’t live here and he’s not involved in it, you know,” half brother Arnold Lee told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider.
Mackenzie said she wants the culprits to know, “It’s a stupid, idiotic thing to do. I don’t know what point it makes or proves and if they have some argument they should bring it out in a public forum and discuss it.”
The incident comes after Spike Lee went on a profanity-laced rant during a speech at a Pratt Institute event for Black History Month Tuesday night.
“You can’t just come in the neighborhood and start bogarting and say, like you’re (expletive) Columbus and kill off the Native Americans,” Lee said.
He was asked by an audience member about the benefits of gentrification. Lee responded with a seven-minute rant against gentrification in places like the neighborhood where he grew up.
“Here’s the thing: I grew up here in Fort Greene. I grew up here in New York. It’s changed,” he said at the event. “Why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the south Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better?”
He added that gentrification has little regard for those who “have a culture that’s been laid down for generations.”
Wednesday night on “Anderson Cooper 360,” Lee talked about the speech, his remarks and what he says he meant.
“I don’t hate anybody,” he said. “My problem is that when you move into a neighborhood, have some respect for the history, for the culture.”
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