There is a Mike Tyson miniseries premiering on Hulu at the end of this month. It’s completely unauthorized, with Mike Tyson posting a couple of times about how Hulu “stole his story and didn’t pay [him].” He also says they tried to collaborate with and pay UFC president Dana White, who refused. It’s unclear whether Hulu or the production team ever tried to collaborate with Mike at all, but it seems like they didn’t based on his posts and what the showrunner said at a recent panel about wanting to tell an “unbiased story.”
Mike Tyson took to social media to take a jab at Hulu over Mike, the series about his life. The former boxer is not happy that the streaming service produced a biographical series without his permission or compensation for telling his story.
“Don’t let Hulu fool you. I don’t support their story about my life. It’s not 1822. It’s 2022,” read Tyson’s statement on Instagram. “They stole my life story and didn’t pay me. To Hulu executives I’m just a n****r they can sell on the auction block.”
On the social media post, Tyson captioned, “Hulu is the streaming version of the slave master. They stole my story and didn’t pay me.”
Tyson’s latest post came after another publication he made on the same social media platform where he praised UFC president Dana White for allegedly refusing to promote the Hulu series.
“Hulu tried to desperately pay my brother @danawhite millions without offering me a dollar to promote their slave master take over story about my life,” Tyson claimed in a statement posted on Instagram. “He turned it down because he honors friendship and treating people with dignity. I’ll never forget what he did for me just like I’ll never forget what Hulu stole from me.”
At Hulu’s Television Critics Tour panel on Thursday, the project’s showrunner, Karen Gist, addressed the unauthorized nature of the project. “We just wanted to tell an unbiased story and have the audience decide what they think or feel,” Gist said. “Challenging what people think they know about Mike and hoping that they come away from the series with something else to think about. Whether you like him or hate him, does the story make you question how complicit society has been? That was the intention, that was the North Star for the writers’ room as we were crafting stories.”
This was not the first time the heavyweight champion slammed Hulu for the biopic series. Back in February 2021, Tyson also took to Instagram to raise his voice against the streamer after announcing the project.
“Hulu’s announcement to do an unauthorized mini-series of the Tyson story without compensation, although unfortunate, isn’t surprising,” the boxer said in a now-deleted post. “This announcement on the heels of social disparities in our country is a prime example of how Hulu’s corporate greed led to this tone-deaf cultural misappropriation of the Tyson life story. To make this announcement during Black History Month only confirms Hulu’s concern for dollars over respect for black story rights. Hollywood needs to be more sensitive to black experiences especially after all that has transpired in 2020.”
“Mike” is set to premiere on August 25 on Hulu. The series was created by Steven Rogers (I, Tonya) and it stars Trevante Rhodes. Other cast members include Russell Hornsby, Harvey Keitel, Laura Harrier, and Li Eubanks.
After reading Mike and the showrunner’s comments, and seeing that the series was created by someone from I,Tonya, I got curious about the racial makeup of the production team. The creator is white and so are a bunch of the producers (including Margot Robbie?), but the showrunner quoted in the Deadline article and several other writers and producers are Black. So hopefully the story that Mike didn’t approve is still told in a nuanced and sensitive way. But Hulu keeps doing this, huh? Pam & Tommy was made without the involvement or permission of Pam or Tommy. Apparently, they were both against it coming out. This pattern by Hulu seems exploitative. And for what it’s worth, Jamie Foxx and Antoine Fuqua were (are? unclear where it is in the development process) working on a different biopic of Mike Tyson, which Mike is supportive of. So this definitely seems like a Hulu problem and not a Mike problem.
Photos credit: Avalon.red, Cover Images and via Instagram
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