Spike Lee is planning a break from attending New York Knicks basketball games after experiencing what he alleges is harassment from security guards at Madison Square Garden. The Oscar winner is the Knicks’ most high profile fan and has been attending basketball games at Madison Square Garden for decades. A video clip of Lee surrounded by Madison Square Garden security guards went viral on social media during the Knicks’ March 2 game. The director went on ESPN’s “First Take” to explain that guards harassed him for using an entrance that he’s had access to for the last 28 years. The guards cited a new policy but Lee said he was not informed of the change in entrance.
In the video, Lee is heard telling the guards, “You wanna arrest me like [Charles] Oakley?!” Oakley is a former basketball player who was arrested at and ejected from Madison Square Garden in 2017 for yelling at New York Kicks owner James Dolan. Lee said Dolan approached him after security guards finally allowed him into the arena, but Lee told the team’s owner, “I said I don’t want to talk about nothing!” Lee said he should have been notified about the entrance policy and not harassed by security guards.
“I’m being harassed by James Dolan. I don’t know why,” Lee added, before telling the “First Take” hosts that he would not be returning to Madison Square Garden for a Knicks game for the rest of the team’s season. When asked if he would go back to MSG, Lee answered, “Not this year. No. I’m coming back next year but I’m done for this season. I’m done.”
The Knicks organization responded in a statement that reads: “The idea that Spike Lee is a victim because we have repeatedly asked him to not use our employee entrance and instead use a dedicated VIP entrance — which is used by every other celebrity who enters The Garden — is laughable. It’s disappointing that Spike would create this false controversy to perpetuate drama. He is welcome to come to The Garden anytime via the VIP or general entrance; just not through our employee entrance, which is what he and Jim agreed to last night when they shook hands.”
Lee is currently in post production on his upcoming Netflix drama “Da 5 Bloods.” The Chadwick Boseman-starring drama centers around a group of Vietnam War veterans who return to the country to find out what happened to their leading officer. Netflix has not announced a release date for “Da 5 Bloods.” Later this year, Lee will serve as jury president at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival.
— ESPN (@espn) March 3, 2020
“Not this year … I’m done.”
You won’t see Spike Lee at another Knicks game this season, according to him. pic.twitter.com/jdcNLBeopC
— First Take (@FirstTake) March 3, 2020