Thursday, November 20, 2008

You're Entering The Tyler Perry All Spin Zone

Tyler Perry gave an exclusive interview to Sistas Talking Tyler Perry. I have to say that his answers don't pass the smell test:

Yolanda Ro: One question, that the readers are asking, is why wouldn't someone in your financial position, at the very least, provide the writers with health care insurance?

Tyler Perry: I don't want people to think I'm walking around with $300 million and won't give people health insurance. There are all these articles about me making $200 million from "House of Payne" but that's not true. I haven't gotten one dime off the show--not one thin dime. Nobody writes you a check for $200 million. TBS doesn't have a contract to write me a check for $200 million. It could take up to 5 years for "House of Payne" to make that amount of money. But the initial investment had to be made by me. Every dime that has been put into "House of Payne", to pay the actors and writers, have come from me doing plays and movies; from black folk who have been with me all the time. The writers knew that I even went into my own personal checking account and gave all 300 employees $1000 bonuses for Christmas.

That's just ludicrous. There's no way House of Payne is airing on TBS for free...which means he's not telling the truth. With the number of episodes it has aired, money has certainly come in from the show itself to pay the ongoing expenses. As far as the upfront costs to have started putting the show together before he had a deal with TBS, that's a case of him getting credit for what he's supposed to do. If you want to have your own production company, you're putting the money up. If you want to have your own studio, you're putting the money up. You get to reap the lion share of the profits, but you don't get to cry "poor me" along the way. Especially since he never seemed to cry poor on any of the movies he's produced from his plays.

Tyler Perry: This is what I was trying to get WGA to understand with the deal; I'm not Disney, and I'm not CNN. This is me, by myself. I'm one man with 300 employees. The deal they wanted me to sign was a deal I couldn't afford. And the moment I refused to sign, the very next day, there were all these articles printed about me being a "union-buster". The next day they were calling me racist and picketing outside the party. They waited right until the party to picket, thinking they had me over a barrel, and that I would cave in, but I don't give into extortion. If it had not been for the NAACP stepping in, things would have gotten really ugly. Originally WGA tried to get the NAACP on their side but it didn't work out that way.

By the way, he acknowledges later that he has deals with all of the other unions. Not crying too poor for that, eh? He just feels his writers aren't worth as much because he's previously done all of his writing, in my opinion. Since these are his creations that they're playing with, he feels as though they're not doing enough work to justify the compensation they should be getting.

By the way: extortion? Please. You use all legal advantages you have in negotiation. Where else should they have picketed? Where else would be effective?

Yolanda Ro: Did you ever promise the writers benefits, residuals, or union contracts once the show took off? Tyler Perry: No. They were never promised anything. What was said to them is "here's the deal--The show is a non-union show". Each writer made six figures for less than nine months of work. Every time they wrote a script they received between $7,000-$10,000; In addition they were also receiving a paid salary by the week. Furthermore, WGA did not call me, I called them. It was 'me' making that move. I called them 5 months ago to begin negotiating a deal. These writers clearly knew that. I have deals with every union except WGA and I was trying to get into WGA because I wanted better writers--and because I was working too hard. I had to outline the show, tell them what I wanted, give them ideas, and then rewrite the script. It was taking 16-18 hours for them to write the show. The actors were frustrated, the crew was frustrated, everybody was frustrated because we would go in to shoot the show, but the script was bad. So I made it through that first year but I told them " I can't do this anymore". After I began negotiations with WGA, I didn't threaten to fire them. I just told them they were going to have to get on their job and step up their game.

I find it hard to believe that the WGA would be trying to press their case with the state labor board if Perry was truly trying to get things rolling with the union. Hard to make a case that someone fired workers for attempting to organize if they were welcoming the union.

Yolanda Ro: Can you address the accusations that you are racist, and also the rumors that you replaced the four black writers with white writers? Tyler Perry: That's not true. I let go of four writers in LA but I kept three writers in Atlanta--two are white and one is black. I hired four new black writers; One of them was Myra J from the Tom Joyner Show. When she came to work for me the union originally told her, since she hadn't done anything in four years, she could work for me. But once she came to work they began sending these harassing letters saying she had better not work for me. I sit here and look at these people knowing that they've never been able to do anything...knowing that I gave them their first opportunity, and for these four black writers to call me's ridiculous.

Ugh. No, no one called him racist in that way. What they suggested was that he was taking advantage of their being black because he knew that it is often harder for black writers to find work.

And their first opportunity? Some of those fired (if not all) were WGA members. In order to become a member, you have to have sold a script at the very least. You can't enter until you're doing work and as soon as you're doing work, you need to enter. Of course, his basically saying they should be grateful that he ever gave them a job is right in line with the accusations of the writers.


  1. He does know "House of Payne" is currently running in syndication, right. If he really thinks anyone is going to believe he is not seeing money on that show, I have a bridge I'd like to sell him.


  2. Exactly, R. It has already run for over a year on TBS and now it's syndication in the biggest markets in the country. It's show BUSINESS, not charity. There's no way he's not getting enough money to pay for the production of the show now.

  3. If you guys would get your head out of Tyler Perry's butt long enough to understand what the man is saying, you'd get it! What he's saying is this....there are 300 employees. That's hundreds of thousands of dollars to insure all those people. Yes, of course he's getting paid for these shows but it takes a certain amount of time to reap the good money. He's not at a point yet of paying for insurance for all of those employees. Also, he made it clear to them in the beginning what the agreement was. Six-figure pay for less than 9 months of work. Also bearing in mind that most of the people that Mr. Perry hires are new workers or small-named people. That being said.....that's good income. Buy your own doggone insurance or go sign up for medicaid!!! Black people get on my nerves trying to bring other blacks down (and I'm BLACK too!). And to slowly baby....what he said was that he went into his own pocket to get the show STARTED! He didn't say he was paying to keep it going. Most of you on here don't even understand show business (myself included) so don't be so quick to jump on the gossip-bandwagon. Gossip is a horrible disease. Let's hold the brother up and thank God that there is one brother out there offering us something that our families can sit in the living room and share without all the profanity and sex that most other "BLACK" movies offer. We appreciate Bill Cosby and Tyler Perry.

  4. Wow, Kenya...for someone trying to imply that everyone else is just ignorant and stupid, you're revealing that you are definitely not in a position to pass that sort of judgment.

    You ramble on about your guesses as to how all of Perry's business works and then admit you don't know anything about show business? You have no idea what you're talking about. Of course, you're not afraid to try to hide that behind the race card.

    Syndication is where the "good money" rolls in, Kenya. Both of his sitcoms had syndication plans in place from the start. TBS ordered the test run before any work was completed on filming a show, so you're far off with your "went into his pocket to get the show STARTED" line.

    You're just another of those people caught up in idolizing a celebrity to where you'll not acknowledge that they can do any wrong. It's a shame that Mr. Perry isn't at least paying you to run around lying on his behalf, "baby".

    And damned if there isn't an ad for House of Payne casting under this box as I type! Damn you, Google Ads...DAMN YOU!!! ;)

  5. HI,

    I just want to say whatever the case may be whether or not he could afford to pay those writers then or now, i think that they should have been grateful just to be working. Offtentimes people can get caught up in greed and forget that they have been given a opportunity to be apart of something great.

    The man cleary has a generous heart and has given alot of people work,and with so many people out of work right now and the number is on the rise i think that they should just be happy they were working because there are plenty of people who would have loved to have been in there position and would have been happy just reicieving a weekly paycheck,and as someone else stated maybe they could have gotten health insurance somewhere else

    I just think that with the way things are going today in America if someone offers you a job and you have no other income coming in to support you or your family you should just take it as a blessing and be thanking GOD you have some money coming into your home

  6. Yeah...they should be sooooooooooo grateful to be making less than scale writing for a multi-millionaire who is making hundreds of millions off of their work.

    You make a strong argument...


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