Spike Lee's battle for the heart and soul of Brooklyn continues. After his epic rant on gentrification in New York ("you can’t just come in the neighbourhood and start bogarting and say, like you’re motherfuckin’ Columbus"), critics accused Lee of being a hypocrite – especially since the Brooklyn-born-and-raised director presently resides on the Upper East Side. Now, the director is hitting back.
In an open letter to film critic A.O. Scott, who recently described Lee's outburst as "a mixture of hyperbole, provocation and plain truth", Lee writes: "Your criticism of me as a hypocrite is lame, weak and not really thought out. You stated in your article that because I live in The Upper East Side and I’m talking about gentrification that makes me (a) hypocrite."
The Do the Right Thing director may have moved to Manhattan, but in his heart he's still BK ALL DAY. "Mr. Scott, what you fail to understand is that I can live on The Moon and what I said is still TRUE," he writes. "No matter where I choose to live that has nothing to do with it. I will always carry Brooklyn in my Blood, Heart and Soul."
Scott, on his part, doesn't seem particularly keen to engage:
You can read Spike Lee's full letter here. People are already dismissing this as a typical stunt move on the part of the "thin-skinned director", but he kind of has a point. Who gets to decide on what the soul of a city is, or who belongs there? What defines a borough or a city's identity? In short, who would look more out of place in Brooklyn today – Spike Lee, or a New York Times columnist?