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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Tyler Perry to Spike Lee: You can go straight to hell!

Spike_lee Spike Lee has really been taking it on the chin this week. First off, his beloved New York Knicks have lost two straight games to the Boston Celtics, blowing big leads both times, seeing a lot of awful defense from Carmelo Anthony and getting torched at the end of each game by the Celtics backcourt marksmen. Now he's getting also getting scorched by Tyler Perry, who is so mad at Lee that he went careening off-message in the middle of Tuesday's news conference for his new film, "Madea's Big Happy Family," taking a flurry of jabs at Lee.

"I'm so sick of hearing about damn Spike Lee," Perry said. "Spike can go to hell! You can print that. I am sick of him talking about me, I am sick of him saying, 'This is a coon, this is a buffoon.' 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!"

It's hard to say exactly what prompted Perry's latest outburst, but the feud between the two filmmakers has been simmering for years. Back in 2009, Perry did an interview with "60 Minutes" where he said he was "insulted" and "pissed off"  by Lee, who after name-checking one of Perry's movies, complained about all of the "coonery and bufoonery" in African American comedy, adding, "We got a black president and we're going back. The image is troubling and it harkens back to Amos 'n' Andy."

Perry is especially peeved that the criticism of his films is coming from a fellow African American. "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 in 'Tootsie.' It's always black people, and this is something that I cannot undo. Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois went through the exact same thing."

Putting aside all of the whoppers in that rant -- I mean, what's Jewish about "Mrs. Doubtfire" and on what planet would you possibly compare a slapstick comedian like Perry with a brilliant social philosopher like W.E.B. DuBois? -- I think it's safe to say that Lee has obviously gotten under Perry's skin. We can argue all day about whether Lee is a great filmmaker or not, but he's definitely a world-class trash talker, right up there with NBA greats like Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace and Charles Barkley who, like Lee, always knew exactly how to rattle and unhinge their adversaries.

And in fairness to Lee, he's a totally colorblind trash talker, once calling Larry Bird "the most overrated player of all time" and former Sen. Trent Lott a "card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan." When Lee was criticized for a negative portrayal of Jewish club owners in "Mo' Better Blues," he blasted back, saying it wasn't such a big deal since the Jews run Hollywood "and that's a fact." Of course, sometimes Lee's taunting has backfired. He got into an epic trash-talking match with Reggie Miller during Game 5 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals between the Indiana Pacers and the Knicks, inspiring Miller to score 25 points in the fourth quarter of the game, blowing the Knicks out of the building and leading the New York Daily News to run a photo of Lee on the front page of the next day's paper, headlined: Thanks a Lot Spike."

But for now, in the showdown between Perry and Lee, it's Spike who has the upper hand. He's gotten Perry so off his game that he's made his feud with Lee the big news coming out of a press conference supposedly designed to promote Perry's new movie. And while we're at it, when it comes to "Seinfeld," I hate to break the news to Perry, but that's no exaggerated Jewish stereotype, babe. That's just good comedy -- the Jewish version of trash talking.

--Patrick Goldstein   

Here's the famous taunting incident between Lee and Reggie Miller during the 1994 playoffs:


 Photo: Spike Lee courtside, rooting for the New York Knicks against the New Jersey Nets at the Prudential Center. Credit: Jim O'Connor / US Presswire


Comments () | Archives (14)

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RE: " I've never seen Italian people attack 'The Sopranos,'"
Fifty years ago, Italian Americans were upset about they were being portrayed in the ABC television series "The Untouchables". People get upset because literature, television, movies, etc., take one aspect of a group and play it to death, ignoring any other aspect of the group. The one aspect turns into a stereotype and then the group gets painted with a brush that says they are just that one dimensional attribute. The complex and threatening aspects of that group are smoothed over and both sides lose out because no one learns anything about the other,

What has Lee done recently anyway? He looks like a washed-up crackhead in the picture with loud clothing. I guess Spike Lee doesn't realize he's washed up and that he's jealous of Tyler Perry getting all the attention. Then again, he's been working.

Spike Lee is provably a racist, and this comment, "Trent Lott a "card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan" is ANYTHING but color blind as stated in this article. Without racial divisiveness, this comment doesn't exist.

African-American culture is one of the worlds great artistic engines. At the beginning of the 21st century, it may just be the greatest. #1.

Hey Tyler, where is your movie about W.E.B., or Booker T.?

And why hasn't any proud black film-maker--Spike?--done a feature about my own particular hero--Frederick Douglass?

Spike, Tyler, you two are rich enough...c'mon you aren't going to live forever. Put your money to work instead of your mouths.

Greetings from Quebec.

"Spike Lee is color blind in his criticism?" - That's some creative spin on the little creep. Sure, he is critical of some Black performers, but he has always saved most of his hate and disdain for Whites. He must have several body guards at the Knicks game, he certainly could not back up a word he says to anyone in person. I've snickered at a couple of his movies, but I found Bamboozled very disturbing, especially the murder of one of the prime characters.

Anyone who had the guts to make a major motion picture about Malik El Shabazz can say ANY.DAMN.THING he wants. Okay, Made Black "Woman"?

Wanted to add: people hate Spike Lee because he never tries to run for the office of Most Palatable Black Person in show biz. Keep it real, Spike.

I love Spike Lee. He's an intellectual nerd. It's important for black intellectual nerds to have an outspoken role model like that.

And it's normal and natural for people of Spike's intellectual personality type to find comedy like Perry's unpalatable.

You can find the same pattern in other areas.

For example, I'm intellectual nerd and I loathe stoner comedies for the same reason Lee loathes Perry's films. Stoner comedies are the marijuana equivalent of coonery and buffoonery.

And any stoner comedy director who feels slighted by that -- you're right to feel slighted, because I meant to slight you.

These kinds of stupid exploitative stereotype-based comedies sit in the backs of people's minds and they come out when it's time to make social policy decisions.

The "coonery and buffoonery" in stoner comedies is one of the big reasons why marijuana is still illegal. People believe that all marijuana users really are like the sleepy morons they see in these dumb films.

You're absolutely right, Spike. Tyler Perry is making money by trading on stereotypes that hurt people in the end. But he's not the only one and it's about more than just race.

Fascinating how Spike Lee likes to tell others what they can and can not do in their films. He would fit into a Gestapo type apparatus as a leader very well. He should shut his face, or move to Africa where he can be a benevolent dictator who controls media. We all know how the socialists love to dictate.

The Democratic Party is the party of the KKK. Two words Spikey, Robert Byrd. Your deceased ranking Senator was a KKK member. How about Obama hiring two Nation Of Islam members to his staff as an Illinois Senator? Another Dem racist move.

You leftists are so misinformed and stupid.

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