Spike Lee profited from gentrification long before he railed against it.
Louis dubbed parts of the rant “hilarious” and “offensive,” but what disturbed the columnist was the fact that Lee “made epic contributions to the phenomenon he finds so troubling.”
Lee bought the “Hatch House” in 2006 for $16 million and then flipped it recently for double that price.
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.
Lee did the same with other properties, pocketing a tidy income in the process. Along the way, he got more involved in real estate with similarly lucrative results.
That is what happens when the efforts of a marketing genius like Lee add rocket fuel to the blazing fire of gentrification.
There’s nothing wrong with Lee’s real estate adventures: He, like every New Yorker, has the right to buy, hold or sell whatever property he can afford, and try to get rich in the process. But it’s not okay when the language of complaint sours into one of exclusion, or even menace.