Director Spike Lee has penned an open letter to New York Times film critic A. O. Scott reprising his beefs about Brooklyn gentrification and complaining that he felt personally attacked, prompting a Twitter tiff and a social media scrimmage.
“Thanks for this but I was not accusing you of anything, just reporting (and critiquing) someone else’s accusation,” Scott wrote back to the Brooklyn director on Twitter Monday.
Lee’s latest tirade was in response to Scott’s recent article, “Whose Brooklyn Is It, Anyway?” which discussed the changing nature and symbolism of the borough for those who call it home and which noted that journalist Errol Louis had tagged Lee as “both an agent and a beneficiary of the gentrification he now decries” in a Daily News op-ed. But Lee decided to pick his bone with Scott, writing, “Your criticism of me as a hypocrite is lame, weak and not really thought out.”
Lee posted his letter on the celebrity website WhoSay, because, he wrote, he did not want theTimes “editing, rearranging my words, thoughts or even ignoring a letter to you.”
He also reprised his complaints about wealthy people moving into once poor neighborhoods. “The Truth is Gentrification is Great for the New Arrivals in Harlem, South Bronx, Bushwick, Red Hook, Bed-Stuy Do or Die and Fort Greene, and in many other cities across the U.S.,” Lee wrote, adding that gentrification is “not so great for The Brown and Black Residents who have been in these Neighborhoods for decades and are being forced out, to the Suburbs, Down South or back to their Native Islands.”
He also complained that his father’s home and a next door neighbor’s brownstone were vandalized with graffiti after he decried gentrification at a Black History Month event at Pratt Institute and said it was “curious” that Scott omitted mentioning that in his article.