Spike Lee is speaking out against a statement and photo the Knicks released Tuesday in which the film director and team owner James Dolan appear to be shaking hands after a disagreement.
In a text message exchange with The New York Times' Sopan Deb, Lee said the picture attached to the statement was a "set up."
"I'm a filmmaker, my man," Lee texted Deb. "This was a set up photo opp."
The saga began when video surfaced of Lee yelling at security guards outside of a Madison Square Garden elevator Monday night, prompting speculation that he was kicked out of the arena. A Knicks spokesman said the allegations were untrue, and that Lee was simply asked to use a different entrance.
Lee went on ESPN's First Take Tuesday morning and said he has used the employee and media entrance for 28 years, but was asked by MSG security guards to exit the arena and re-enter at a different door ahead of Monday's game against the Rockets.
After Lee's appearance on ESPN, the Knicks issued another statement.
"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," the Knicks said. "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."
The statement also included a photo that the Knicks claimed shows Dolan and Lee shaking hands to make amends after Monday's incident. Lee shot down that idea.
"This press release which is upsetting me is an unmitigated, bold-faced lie," Lee told Deb. "Capital letters. On my late mother and my late brother's grave, this is a lie."