Last month, Spike Lee unleashed a rant on "motherf*ckin' hipsters" gentrifying Brooklyn, which prompted some criticism as well as many Deep Thoughts About Gentrification (which we've already covered). Over the weekend, NY Times film critic A.O. Scott delved into Lee's argument—which then prompted a reaction from Lee, who declared, "Your criticism of me as a hypocrite is lame, weak and not really thought out."

It seems Lee was reacting to the part where Scott mentioned NY1 political anchor Errol Louis' op-ed in the Daily News. Louis wrote, "It’s the sacred right of every New Yorker to bewail, blame and bemoan the arrival of the folks who arrive in the neighborhood five minutes after we do, but somebody has to call bull on Lee’s complaints about gentrification. This is a man who has made epic contributions to the phenomenon he finds so troubling," and then pointed to Lee's sale of a Fort Greene townhouse (for four times the amount he paid) and Lee putting his Upper East Side townhouse on the market for $32 million, twice what he paid. Louis added, "My friends in nearby Yorkville have been gnashing their teeth for years, complaining about how rents have risen to insane levels, thanks in part to owners buying and flipping high-end properties."

Scott had reflected, "As is often the case with Mr. Lee’s public utterances, this one was a mixture of hyperbole, provocation and plain truth," and delved into how "new Brooklyn" is a place where people with beards are "busy knitting, raising chickens, distilling whiskey, making art and displaying the fruits of this activity in pop-up galleries and boutiques, farm-to-table kitchens and temples of mixology," versus the working class image seen in The Honeymooners and Welcome Back, Kotter.

Lee unloaded on Scott thus: "The Lees were the 1st Black Family to move into the predominantly Italian-American Brooklyn Neighborhood of Cobble Hill. My Parents bought their first home in 1968, a Brownstone in Fort Greene, where my Father still lives. Did you know his and a Next door Neighbor’s Brownstone were vandalized by Graffiti after my remarks on Gentrification at Pratt Institute? Curious you left that out of your article."

The filmmaker is also very upset about the hypocrisy accusations, "Did anyone call Jay-Z a Hypocrite when he helped with bringing The Nets from New Jersey to The Barclays Center in Brooklyn at the Corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue? Hey Buddy, Jay-Z had been long, long gone from The Marcy Projects and Brooklyn a long, long, long time ago and more Power to my BK ALL DAY Brother. Should Jay-Z no longer mention Brooklyn in his Songs because he no longer resides there? You already know the answer to that one, Sir."

Here's his full letter:

A Letter To New York Times Film Critic Mr. A.O. Scott responding to his article in the Sunday Arts & Leisure Section “WHOSE BROOKLYN IS IT, ANYWAY?”

Dear Mr. A.O. Scott, I have chose the platform of my Social Media to respond to you. I do not want the New York Times editing, rearranging my words, thoughts or even ignoring a letter to you. I’m writing what I feel and there is no need for somebody else at The New York Times to interpret it.

The Truth is The Truth. The Truth is The Light, and as they say in Brasil “One Finger Can’t Block The Sun.” 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. But 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.

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 Hypocrite. The fact is where I live has nothing to do with it. Your argument is OKEY DOKE. If you did your research you would see I’m a product of The New York Public School System, from Kindergarten to graduating from John Dewey High School in Coney Island. I was born in Atlanta, Georgia and my Family moved to Crown Heights, Brooklyn when I was Three. The Lees were the 1st Black Family to move into the predominantly Italian-American Brooklyn Neighborhood of Cobble Hill. My Parents bought their first home in 1968, a Brownstone in Fort Greene, where my Father still lives. Did you know his and a Next door Neighbor’s Brownstone were vandalized by Graffiti after my remarks on Gentrification at Pratt Institute? Curious you left that out of your article.

Mr. Scott, what you fail to understand is that I can live on The Moon and what I said is still TRUE. 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. Did anyone call Jay-Z a Hypocrite when he helped with bringing The Nets from New Jersey to The Barclays Center in Brooklyn at the Corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue? Hey Buddy, Jay-Z had been long, long gone from The Marcy Projects and Brooklyn a long, long, long time ago and more Power to my BK ALL DAY Brother. Should Jay-Z no longer mention Brooklyn in his Songs because he no longer resides there? You already know the answer to that one, Sir.

Let’s just say Mr. Scott, we follow your ill thought out, half developed argument that I’m a Hypocrite. Since you are a New York Times Film Critic this should be very easy for you. According to your logic I should not have Written and Directed JUNGLE FEVER because I have never lived in HARLEM and BENSONHURST. I should not have Directed CLOCKERS because I have never lived in Boerum Hill and the Gowanus Projects. I should have not Written and Directed HE GOT GAME because I have never lived in CONEY ISLAND. I should have never Directed my two Epic Documentaries on Hurricane Katrina - WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE and IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEK DON’T RISE because I have never lived in NEW ORLEANS. Or maybe, perhaps I should have never WRITTEN and DIRECTED DO THE RIGHT THING because I have never, ever, ever lived in BED-STUY (DO OR DIE). Do you see where this is going?

In closing please understand it’s what you get growing up and learning on the Streets of Brooklyn that empowers you to go anywhere on this God’s Earth to “Do Ya Thang” to be successful in the path you have chosen. It doesn’t matter where you choose to live because Brooklyn goes where you go. It still lives inside Larry King, Sandy Koufax, Big Daddy Kane, Bernard and Albert King, Barry Manilow, Stephon Marbury, Rhea Perlman, Adam Sandler, Neil Sedaka, Jerry Seinfeld, Busta Rhymes, Mike Tyson, Harvey Keitel, Willie Randolph, Carmelo Anthony, Mel Brooks, Marisa Tomei, Marv Alvert, Darren Aronofsky, Pat Benatar, Larry David, Mos Def, Tony Danza, Alan Dershowitz, Neil Diamond, Richard Dreyfuss, Debbie Gibson, Rudy Giuliani, David Geffen, Lou Gossett, Jr., Elliott Gould, Mark Jackson, Jimmy Kimmel, Talib Kweli, Nia Long, Alyssa Milano, Stephanie Mills, Esai Morales, Chris Mullin, Chuck Schumer, Jimmy Smits, Joe Torre, Eli Wallach, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Woody Allen, Barbara Streisand and may I mention none of the above still reside in B.K., but they will always REPRESENT BROOKLYN. Mr. Scott, please learn “SPREADIN’ LOVE IS THE BROOKLYN WAY.”
WAKE UP
WE BEEN HERE

Spike Lee
Filmmaker
Fort Greene
Da Republic of Brooklyn, New York
YA-DIG? SHO-NUFF
And Dat’s Da Truth Ruth

And for good measure, here's a Bushwick Native's response to gentrification, "I am St. Patrick's-Day-Beer-Vomit-Green with jealousy when I see those beautifully renovated apartments along Irving or Knickerbocker Avenue. I want to cut those bitches shopping at Mary Meyer with their ridiculously expensive, cute vintage outfits. I want to scream when I see a studio space I could never afford to start a small business. I even seriously considered selling some weed to build a little nest egg to start a little business... how fucking ghetto is that?"