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.


  • Jonni says:

    Once again, Spike Lee comes off like a jerk, but he has a point. I'm tired of seeing all these Madea films and movies like them in general. Of course, Hollywood is still driven by money and white actors still are the big draw in this market. However, Tyler has created his own little empire and he's not doing enough with it. He's had several successful plays that he's transformed into successful movies. I'm pretty sure they all make a good profit since they do not cost hundreds of millions of dollars to produce and market. Now his name is a brand and he needs to use the power he's gained in Hollywood to push more movies that don't pidgenhole minorities into the same old roles we've been in for decades. There must be more stories where then main characters don't have to be white to make it good. For every Madea movie, it would be nice if we could see something like Limitless or Adjustment Bureau with minority actors. It seems like Perry, Oprah, Cosby, Smith and Lee should have the clout and capital to get that done.

  • melanie says:

    Tyler seems to be lashing out because the truth hurts. We've all been there. Spike Lee hasn't spoken about this guy in 2 full years, yet Tyler's still bringing him up at award shoes, in print, etc.
    He's acting like a woman scorned...or maybe a little kid who found out other people get to have a say too.

  • another thing says:

    People writing that Lee is 'jealous' of Tyler Perry seem to be overlooking the fact that his sentiments echo MANY, MANY, MANY of us who are not famous, jealous or even filmmakers. It's just fact: as many people who 'love' Madea/"meet the browns", the rest of us look at it as something Hollywood perpetuates because they rather see these representations of Blacks in film, than something they have to spend money or time on.
    I also find it really sad that Tyler doesn't understand the difference between he & Dustin Hoffman-Hoffman didn't make a cinematic CAREER out of Tootsie, so he wasn't judged on that single career. And what kind of filmmaker doesn't know that the Sopranos were protested by Italian American groups until it's final show aired?

  • brittaj17 says:

    23 Apr
    Tyler Perry‘s new movie ‘Madea’s Big Happy Family‘ was released this weekend. But it’s a shame that with all Perrys’ talent and fame, he does not seem to get a break. Prior to the release of his film, I received an email from him asking that we dismiss the negative press and check out his movie.
    Well, it was surprising to me that he had to defend himself. Perry has fame and fortune, has produced top-selling plays and movies, so he should not have to apologize for the “hater’s”. His movies are funny and always have a message somewhere in the storyline. So why is he singled out and rejected by the critics? Or better yet, why can’t I find decent reviews on his work?
    It can be said that it is because his movies are comedies which typically don’t receive a lot of support. But I cannot remember a time when the producers of “Austin Powers” or the string of slap stick comedies such as “American Pie”, had to defend their films in advance of release. And they always seem to receive reviews by the top movie critics.
    So what makes Perry different? Are they afraid he has too much power or money? Do they not get his humor? Is there a jealous bunch trying to bring him down? Or is this just a fluke? Well, I believe it could be any of these scenarios. So I will continue to support his movies, because he is a true genius and inspiration for many. His growth is not a threat, but a level of success we can all aspire to achieve.
    Tyler Perry, you have come a long way, so hopefully you will not let ANYONE bring you down. You deserve all that you’ve earned, and you should not ever be discouraged, because your fans are sure to stick by your side.
    My family will head out this weekend to support your movie. Keep them coming, we will certainly keep going to see them! Hopefully all of your fans will see ‘Madea’s Big Happy Family’, this weekend, and put you on top of the box office earnings!

    • Teralyn Jackson says:

      Thanx BrittaJ17!!
      Atleast I have somebody to agree with me.Perry does need a break and Spike Lee needs tto sit down somewhere with all this mess and stay outta the way of people's way!!

  • Nee says:

    I love all of Tyler Perry 's work and I am going keep supports all of his workS.
    Spike Lee ,we all heard your corcerns million times now. Please give a rest. WE KNOW WHAT WE WANT TO SEE,AND TYLER PERRY IS PROVIDE THAT FOR US.

  • Justice says:

    SPIKE...if you are so disgusted about Tyler's movies and shows...why don't you collaborate with him on making a movie. But don't hate on him because he owns his own studio and you do not. You are continuing the division between successful Blacks...can't we all just get along and share the wealth? "DO THE RIGHT THING"

  • jBreezy says:

    Spike, I think you should take all that hating energy and figure out a way to extend that brother a hand. So many times we (Afro Americans) get caught up in our own BS and either hate on or toot our own horn. Putting each other down is not solving any specific problem, Tyler is just as wrong by feeding into the back biting. We can acomplish so much more together than we can the words of MJ "Make that ccchange" Peace. jBreezy

  • bryan says:

    I agree with Spike Lee. Not entirely, but enough to believe Tyler Perry is dodging the greater issue. What has he done to elevate black people, to feed them something intellectually nourishing? Tyler Perry has earned, by pandering to the lowest common denominator, a scope and reach Spike Lee could never achieve. Is he jealous? Yes.
    Are Tyler Perry's movies culturally ignorant and backwards, and perhaps insulting to discerning blacks who want something more from self-proclaimed entertainers to claim to know what the black people want?
    If a white director exhibited this kind of arrogance, or produced a film similar in structure to a Tyler Perry movie, he'd be branded as a racist. I think Lee's point is valid, pandering is pandering no matter what cross-section of the audience you belong to.

  • James says:

    You must have missed the part where each of his movie titles has the phrase "A Spike Lee Joint." And what is up with the word "joint?" Does "A Spike Lee Production" sound too white for him? Spike Lee is a black supremacist who is no better than the KKK. That's why he's so full of hate! People like him do more to fuel racism than the KKK can ever do. I'm with Tyler Perry.

  • angel says:

    You are correct! Spike Lee's movies use to make me so upset because the message he was trying to give his viewers was getting missed. I stopped watching his films for this reason and I feel that Spike is jealous of Tyler's success. Did you know that Spike had to borrow money to produce each of his films and Bill Cosby was one of his biggest contributors? Tyler's sitcoms were not made for whites, nor are they to be fully undertood by whites. The stories are about black people and the head of these families was mother dear (madea). She is the strong older woman that gave the family support during times of crisis. She also kept the family together during a time when black men ran away from their responsibiity as a provider for their family.
    However, Spike does have a good point. We as blacks have tried for many years to move away from the negative sterotypes of being ignorant, drug addicts and pimps during the black exploitation films. But we still have not found a sitcom that portrays us as hard working, loving, caring people. No, we did not find this even in the unrealistic portrayal of the Cosby show. So where do we go from here?
    Hopefully someone will finally figure it out, produce a show that will shed light on everyday blacks that is positive and meaningful. I think the white people that watch Tyler's movies and plays are only doing so in order to have one more thing to further show why we fit a particular sterotype they have regarding our people and we do not need someone fueling the fire.

  • dg215 says:

    Tyler Perry portrays tight-knit communities with a focus on family, faith, resilience and a shared identity. Despite the many problems with his characters, the positive elements should not be overlooked as they often are.

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  • Jeff says:

    I'm a white guy and I love all the Madea movies. Tyler Perry's story is amazing. He started with nothing, and unlike most people in his situation, did nothing illegal to get rich (wall street bankers). Comedy is comedy. Spike Lee needs to get a sense of humor. Or die of a heart attack from forgetting to enjoy life.

  • Jeff says:

    Oh, and Hellur Leahler.