Graffiti vandal hits Spike Lee's old block
By Haimy Assefa, Ross Levitt and Ray Sanchez CNN | 3/1/2014, 9:31 a.m.
NEW YORK (CNN) - A graffiti vandal hit the home owned by Spike Lee's father and a neighboring home in Brooklyn Friday -- days after the filmmaker's curse-filled rant against the gentrification enveloping his old neighborhood.
The glass was shattered on the front door of the neighbor's home on Washington Park in the Fort Greene section, and "Do the Right Thing," the title of Lee's controversial 1989 film about racial tension in Brooklyn, was spray-painted on the wall along with the Circle-A, the symbol for anarchy.
Three words -- "Do the Right" -- were scrawled on stairs leading to jazz artist Bill Lee's brownstone next door. A police spokesman said the home was spray-painted early Friday. The act of vandalism is being investigated.
Dianne Mackenzie, who has lived in the neighborhood for 17 years, said she discovered the vandalism on her Washington Park home Friday morning. She believes the damage is connected to Spike Lee's now-infamous anti-gentrification rant during an African-American History Month lecture on Tuesday.
"All I know is that he made a lot of comments that went viral, the next day my house is vandalized," Mackenzie told CNN. "There is probably some kind of connection in the mind of whoever did this ... There is no reasonable reason for it. If this person has got something to say, fine say it. Don't damage my property."
Arnold Lee, who lives with his father, defended his half-brother's right to rant about gentrification but took issue with Spike Lee's reference to the family's Fort Greene home.
"Say what you want but leave the personal stuff out of it," he told CNN Friday. "The moment you start going, 'Well, I live here,' and he doesn't live here. You know he lives in Manhattan so ... this is my dad's house, and it's kind of personal."
He added, "Leave us out of it. Because I feel bad ... my neighbor, she is a good friend.
In his rant, in which Lee mentioned that he once lived at 165 Washington Park, Lee also said his father, "a great jazz musician," bought the brownstone 46 years ago.
"And the mother' people moved in last year and called the cops on my father," Lee said. He's not --- he doesn't even play electric bass. It's acoustic. We bought the mother' house in 1968, and now you call the cops? In 2013?"
According to a New York Times article, police have received 17 noise complaints. The Times said a woman who lived next door had called most.
Arnold Lee doesn't believe the vandalism was connected to the noise complaints.
"If it came from what he said, then it came from that," he said "But there hasn't been a noise complaint in months."
Mackenzie, a retired computer programmer, said she was not behind the noise complaints.
"They are professional musicians next door," she said. "They practice. They jam and their music is very good. I never had problems with the noise at all. And I was quoted in the paper saying that, and I never brought complaints. Maybe this has something to do with that. If it does, they got the wrong house."