Madea's Tyler Perry Blasts Spike Lee: 'Spike Can Go Straight to Hell!'

tylerperry300.jpgJudging from his press conference for this week's Madea's Big Happy Family, Tyler Perry hasn't yet received a fruit basket of peace from famous detractor Spike Lee. "I'm so sick of hearing about damn Spike Lee," Perry announced to press Monday. "Spike can go straight to hell!" Tell us how you really feel, Tyler!

"I am sick of him talking about me," Perry said. "I am sick of him saying, 'This is a coon, this is a buffoon.' I am sick of him talking about black people going to see movies. This is what he said: 'You vote by what you see' -- as if black people don't know what they want to see."

"I am sick of him. He talked about Whoopi, he talked about Oprah, he talked about me, he talked about Clint Eastwood. Spike needs to shut the hell up!"

Perry's argument with Lee dates back to a 2009 interview in which Lee referred to Perry's films as "coonery buffoonery;" Perry responded publicly on 60 Minutes, admitting that he felt insulted by Lee's comments. And while two years and three films have come to pass since then, Perry's still on the defensive when it comes to his Madea films in particular.

"I don't even understand it," he continued. "There [are] so many people who walk around, and this is where the whole Spike Lee [issue] comes from -- the negativity, 'This is Stepin Fetchit,' 'This is coonery,' 'This is buffoonery' -- and they try to get people to get on this bandwagon with them, to get this mob mentality to come against what I'm doing."

Perry points to the disparity between the amount of criticism he receives for his work and the seeming lack of complaints about other similarly ethno-centric film and television properties. "What they don't understand is this, and this is what I want to make perfectly clear to everybody, especially black people: I've never seen Jewish people attack Seinfeld and say, 'This is a stereotype.' I've never seen Italian people attack The Sopranos, I've never seen Jewish people complaining about Mrs. Doubtfire or Dustin Hoffman and what they were doing in Tootsie. I never saw it. It's always black people, and this is something that I cannot undo." [Ed. note: Perry may have gotten his Mrs. Doubtfire/Tootsie reference confused; perhaps he meant the cross-dressing community?]

Having opened ten feature films to $520 million at the domestic box office and created two popular sitcoms in just six years, Perry's reach as a filmmaker is undeniable. But he's ready to challenge the perception that his audience is narrowly defined by ethnic terms. "They go on to say that people of other ethnic groups or white people don't go see my movies, and that's all a lie. I'm standing on stage looking at thousands of people, thousands of faces, with every race represented, and I'm tired of it. I'm tired of just laying down, tired of just being nice and letting them say whatever they want to say however they want to say it without people knowing what the intent really is."

Perry can test his theory this Friday when Madea's Big Happy Family opens nationwide -- sans pre-release press screenings, as per Perry's usual policy. Will the Madea-curious venture into theaters to see if they're on Team Tyler or Team Spike? Has Perry's public stature increased among the uninitiated thanks to the profile boost from bringing films like Precious and For Colored Girls into awards season contention? Sound off below.


  • Tod Gruhaf says:

    I agree with him, though - he never saw Italians attacking The Sopranos?

  • Movielover says:

    When Tyler Perry is good, For Colored Girls, Why Did I Get Married, Precious, he is very good. Universal stories with a black cast.
    I have never seen a Madea movie, don:t think I ever will based on the advertisements I have seen. Not my cup of tea.
    Used to watch house of Payne, it was funny. The underlying message about family was good. No longer watch because it goes for the cheap laugh now. My brain needs more of a challenge.

  • A. Elem says:

    I'm an old (70) white woman but I think Tyler Perry has the funniest series I've ever seen with the Madea character yet has done some very touching movies, i.e., Precious and Why Did I Get Married. (And there are touching moments in all the Madea movies) Let Spike Lee continue to film his angst and reverse racist dribble! We love you Mr. Perry.

  • Shaniqua says:

    I believe that Spike Lee is jealous of Tyler Perry! If you go back and look at Spike Lee's movies, I think, even he would be amazed at how insulting they could have been perceived. In the past, his idea was to support and encourage black people to be better and "do the right thing", well Tyler Perry is doing the right thing. He is providing pure entertainment for people, anyone who will look at it. He is providing a voice for colored women. He is providing laughs for people who, just simply, need to laugh. He is showing the world that black men love their children too! He is providing an atmosphere of joy during his live plays. He is giving back to the black community! He is visible! Our children see him doing what they dream of doing! None of us can take credit for Tyler Perry's work, but I feel like we are doing this with him! I give God the glory for what He is doing in this man's life! Spike Lee have you noticed the hope, love, and joy that flows through Tyler's movies? Have you noticed that God has blessed this man with an awesome testimony. He is encouraging through his voice. Tyler didn't give up and people can see that! Leave him alone! He is trying to do good for his people and for his life! Look at him...look at him Spike know how you do that special thing with the camera in all of your movies, when you move in on people! Look at him! Like Jennifer Hudson says, Where You At?

  • Colander says:

    Sopranos had the luxury of being amazing, and that tends to shut up critics. Spike Lee has a point, or is at least making a specific point, and Tyler Perry seems to be avoiding it on purpose. Saying "My fans know what they want" is not the same as saying "I am not feeding them garbage."
    Anyway, Spike is also missing the point that it's largely the church-going type that tends to defend Perry anyway (which i why it should do well this weekend, which was clearly a deliberate release-date choice), and maybe Spike should be addressing why people connect with TP instead of sticking strictly to how dumb his movies are.

  • CTS says:

    I'm with you on most of your comments. I have also never seen a Madea movie. I did see Why Did I Get Married and thought it was ok. I tried to watch House of Payne but it made my head hurt. His "comedy" writing is lazy, in my opinion.
    Not to nitpick, but Tyler Perry had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of Precious. He and Oprah were given producer credits after the film was made and the makers of the film thought they needed big time African American names attached in order to get the word out. He and Oprah did a marvelous job promoting the film, but neither of them were involved in the making of the film.

  • E Wright says:

    Good for you Tyler! It is about time you stop being such a nice guy when it comes to Spike Lee and his negative comments about you and your work. What has he done lately in the arts or even for the community for that matter? When we do hear from him it’s always negative nothing positive. Too often we as a people unlike other races do not come together instead we are like crabs in the barrel trying to constantly pull each other down as each one attempts to rise above. Spike is beginning to sound like a broken record and a wo(man) scorned. Maybe I should say a film writer/actor/producer that has no work to show the world so he chooses to lash out at those who do. When we go to see a Tyler Perry Production whether it be Play or Film, serious or funny(with or without Madea or Mr. Brown, it is enjoyable and entertaining. Unlike you (Spike Lee) we are thinking about how it makes us feel. Tyler’s work allows us to relate from personal & family experiences and it also allows us to laugh until we almost wet our pants which is what we need in today’s society. Being in a recession where people have lost their jobs, homes and families are being torn apart because of it, we welcome someone creating some laughter for people to experience. Spike I will keep you in my prayers because God is not through with you yet. Know that when life knocks you to your knees you are in a good position to (Pray). The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts. May God Bless you both!
    elw-Atlanta GA

  • sosgemini says:

    If Perry's films were a quarter the quality of Tootsie or The Sopranos, maybe he'd have an argument.

  • ZebedeeDooDah says:

    With Tootsie and Mrs Doubtfire I think Perry is referring to the criticism he gets for crossdressing. Some people see African-American crossdressing in comedy films (which happens a LOT) as a harmful and insulting stereotype (I believe 30 Rock had an episode that talked about this).
    Perry is pointing out that white actors don't get given the same grief, although of course this history and reasons behinds people's objections to African-American actors doing it don't really apply, so the argument kind of falls down.
    Either way, I think Perry is in the right here. Spike Lee has been bashing other people's work for a long time (aside from those mentioned in the article, he's gone after Quentin Tarantino in the past), it's starting to get sad.

  • imfeedingmattdamon says:

    I think it's very easy to pin Spike's remarks on professional jealousy. I'm not a filmmaker but I am a person of color and I typically agree with what Spike has said about Perry. His films do not reflect the progressive, contemporary and nuanced perspectives of Black people. His characterizations are outdated and his humor is shallow. Maybe this would've been considered groundbreaking 30 or 40 years ago but now it's just insulting. Instead of focusing his ire on Spike he needs to address his primitive approach to writing about people of color. We didn't all just fall off the back of a turnip truck.

  • fordcasting says:

    "Each of his films advances nearly the same message to his audience (which is overwhelmingly African-American, female, devoutly Christian and over 30). Be demure. Be strong but not too strong. Too much ambition is a detriment to your ability to find a partner "a "man." True female fulfillment is found in the role of wife and/or mother."

  • CTS says:

    Well said!

  • Shaniqua says:

    IT IS EASY to spin Spike Lee's remarks on professional jealousy, that's why I said it. I could have easily said that he is looking for a moment in the press. This man needs an excuse for bashing someone in the public, who has obviously tried to refrain from bashing him. He is not placing any value on Tyler Perry's work, as it relates to the black community. Why? I would like to hear a substantiated arguement from Spike Lee, as to how Tyler Perry's movies are negatively impacting the black community. One of the most the most dynamic aspect of any relationship is for people to be able to relate to each other and people relate to Tyler Perry, so they watch his movies and tune into his shows. Let's keep things in proper perspective, we are talking about TV and Movies, where people want to be entertained and kept busy. I guess tiny and toya and the real housewives of atlanta are better than what Tyler Perry has to offer because I don't see Spike talking about any of those shows. He is careful to use his misguided influence on topics that create controversy with the majority of people. What is the intent of his voice. Oh, well, you win some, you lose some.

  • dee says:

    This dude needs to get his facts straight. Robin Williams isn't Jewish, and if Mrs. Doubtfire was , the movie never mentions it. Same for Dustin Hoffman's Tootsie character.

  • Daphne says:

    Why is Tyler still ranting about comments from Spike Lee from 2009 interview? He comes off like a petulant child.

  • KevyB says:

    What about Martin Lawrence? Aren't his dressup movies just as bad? Where's the Spike Lee commentary on him? What about Eddie Murphy's "coonery buffoonery" in the Nutty Professor movies? I'm not a big fan of Tyler Perry being called out on the carpet for basically one over-the-top character. I'm certainly not happy with him for always seeming to make white blonde women villains in his movies, but that's certainly not buffoonery. Does he deserve some of the stereotyping accusations he gets? Of course. But the dude's entire career isn't the polar opposite of this whitebread life Spike Lee and Bill Cosby are always pushing.

  • ZungRee says:

    lol, fact is fact, Spike Lee is an idiot. A washed up "has been" at best.

  • BISTHEL says:

    Honestly, my all-white family sits down and watches at least 2-3 Madea movies every time we get together. We're not doing it to poke fun at black people, we're doing it because the characters are funny, the writing (while occasionally a bit base) is family-appropriate, and the ultimate moral of the story is very pro-women, and pro-family. Not bad, really.

  • SlackerKeith says:

    Would someone explain to me why everything involving Tyler Perry has to be billed as "Tyler Perry's [fill in title]". At least we were never subjected to the self-aggrandizement of something such as "Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing". Mr. Perry needs to check his ego.

  • Craig says:

    You know, I agree that Spike Lee might be jealous of his success. It would be similar to Greg Gerrardo's jealousy of Larry the Cable Guy. Greg is ten times funnier, but Larry appeals to the masses and the masses are idiots. Thus, explaining Tyler Perry. Look, his movies are boring. They are meat and potatoes movies that he craps out at an alarming rate. I'd be impressed with him if he slowed down and made a movie with some real thought in it. Like Spike Lee has. Tyler, take a break from your "Oprahness" and go write something amazing. Shock us and prove us wrong.

  • arc says:

    I have for one, have always been a big fan of Spike Lee, until the negative remarks he launched against Tyler Perryand others. Spike needs to stop being a hater! Let's examine his charges. Coonery and Buffoonery, come on Spike! First of all, the Mars character was a joke. He thought with his little head, totally stereotypical. " She's gotta have it", protrayed sisters as easy and loose indiscriminate in their choices. I'm sure that played into a lot of hands. " Do the right thing" , showed we can tear things up and that Mookie was a weak father. "She Hate Me" showed that brothers are just goosd for being studded out, like in slavery days. When Spiked did "She Got To Have It" he perpetuated a image that still is utilized in videos of our women today!. Too many proud black women have paid a great price to have ever seen that imagery projected. True you are a independent filmmaker icon and a lot of actors black and white, owe you a great deal of thanks. But you hate on too many people and having the success ,you obviously long for. It is a waste of that onetime brilliant talent. The images you put out there other than your, biographical work hurt us also. And there was no humor or godly guidiance to redeem our hope in ourselves. Everybody has a voice,stop trying to steal his. He has made movies without Madea and Brown, no credit there! Are you Spike pissed that he can make people laugh, or that he just makes too much money for you. Hone you craft and get back intouch to doing you, and you won't care who's on top, you'ii be there too. Then the dollars of audiences will vote yes to your success. You aired dirty laundry in "School Dazes", now let's see if you can clean it up! Can you make a movie that people want to see,that's not biographical and have that kind of success. Cause we don't need a Chicken George in our midst, pointing out Kunta, who is trying to have finacial freedom. I'm a writer and filmmaker, I loved work and you, but it wasn't all positive SPIKE!!

  • Alex says:

    Can't we just stop all this Director-on-Director crime?

  • Bob says:

    I think we'd all be better off if both of them stopped making movies.

  • Henry says:

    Tyler Perry Presents: A "Madea’s Big Happy Family" Press Conference feat. Spike Lee