Police aren't calling it a hate crime, but they are investigating what's behind the vandalism done to a home on director Spike Lee's old block in Brooklyn, which happened just days after Lee went off about the changes to his old neighborhood, and may have inadvertently given the vandals a road map. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.
Early Friday morning, someone broke the front door glass of 164 Washington Park in Fort Greene, next door to the house where Spike Lee's father lives, and where the director used to live, too.
They spray-painted "Do the Right Thing," on the facade, possibly a reference to Lee's 1989 film about tensions on a block in Brooklyn, as well as the letter A in a circle, often used as a symbol by anarchists.
Robert Keller and Dianne MacKenzie live inside the brownstone that bore the brunt of the attack.
"There's no excuse for spray-painting someone's house, no matter what you feel," MacKenzie said. "There are other avenues for protest."
Black paint was also sprayed on the Lee staircase, which borders their neighbors' front yard.
While detectives investigate the graffiti and the motive, neighbors say they know why the homes were targeted.
"Obviously, it was in retaliation to what was said by Spike the other day at Pratt," Keller said.
On Tuesday night at the Pratt Institute, Lee went on a rant against gentrification in places like his old neighborhood, and specifically against some of his father's neighbors. MacKenzie and Keller said that someone must have thought, wrongly, that Lee was talking about them.
"I think somebody was probably trying to retaliate against the other neighbors who complained about the music rehearsals that are always ongoing in the Lee's house," MacKenzie said.
Lee's brother, Arnold, also believes that that may be what sparked the vandalism.
"A couple of days after his speech or whatever, and then this happens," he said.
Arnold Lee, who's close with his neighbors and the community, said that he's upset about the damage to his block, and he had some advice for his brother.
"Spike shouldn't be saying stuff about a situation he's not involved in," he said.
MacKenzie told NY1 that she expects it will cost thousands of dollars to fix the damage. As for Lee, he now lives in Manhattan, on the Upper East Side.