Spike Lee on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on July 31. / Richard Drew, AP
Film director Spike Lee railed against gentrification in New York City in an expletive-filled speech this week.
Lee grew up in the Fort Greene neighborhood in Brooklyn. His parents still live there.
"Why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the South Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Brown Heights, for the facilities to get better?" he said in response to a question at an African-American History Month lecture Tuesday at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
Explaining his response, Lee told CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, "My problem is, when you move into a neighborhood, have some respect for the history, for the culture."
To stay a great city, Lee said New York City needs more affordable housing. Lee currently lives in Manhattan's Upper East Side and listed his townhouse for $32 million.
Some quotes from Lee:
â?˘ "The garbage wasn't picked up every (expletive) day when I was living in 165 Washington Park."
â?˘ "Have you seen Fort Greene Park in the morning? It's like the (expletive) Westminster Dog Show."
â?˘ "Then comes the (expletive) Christopher Columbus Syndrome. You can't discover this. We been here. You just can't come and bogart."
â?˘ "(Renters) can't even afford (expletive) (expletive) Williamsburg now because of (expletive) hipsters."
In a response to Lee, Joshua Greenman, who is white and lives in Brooklyn, called Lee's rant "ignorant."
"The phenomenon he decries is mostly innocuous, inevitable and, in a diverse and economically dynamic city, healthy," Greenman writes in the New York Daily News.
Greenman points to studies that show gentrification is actually good for long-time residents because businesses and services improve.
Like Lee, he pointed to the need for more affordable housing.
Contributing: Associated Press
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