Hulu is one streaming service Mike Tyson almost certainly won’t use.
In a series of social media statements, the legendary boxer is alleging that Hulu stole his life story without compensation and is angry about the upcoming show, “Mike,” that chronicles his life.
“Don’t let Hulu fool you. I don’t support their story about my life,” the 56-year-old Tyson wrote on Instagram. “It’s not 1822. It’s 2022. They stole my life story and didn’t pay me. To Hulu executives I’m just a [N-word] they can sell on the auction block.”
In a caption on that Instagram post, Tyson wrote, “Hulu is the streaming version of the slave master. They stole my story and didn’t pay me.”
Tyson went over to Twitter and made similar comments, writing that “Hulu’s model of stealing life rights of celebrities is egregiously greedy.” He added: “Hulu stole my story. They’re Goliath and I’m David. Heads will roll for this.”
While it’s not uncommon for biopics to be made without the subject’s approval, Tyson had a similar take when the show was first ordered in February of 2021.
“To make this announcement during Black History Month only confirms Hulu’s concern for dollars over respect for Black story rights,” he said. “Hollywood needs to be more sensitive to Black experiences especially after all that has transpired in 2020.”
Tyson announced in March of 2021 that his “authorized story” was being developed, with Jamie Foxx starring as the boxer and filmmaker Martin Scorcese producing the film.
Executive producers Steven Rogers and Karin Gist of the upcoming Hulu show addressed Tyson’s criticism this week, saying that they were unable to talk to him because his rights were already taken.
“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.”
“I would hope that if he watches it that he would change his opinion,” Rogers added, according to Entertainment Tonight. “For me, as a writer, as a storyteller, I don’t really like to be reliant on just one source. I really like to do the research and get all these different opinions and then put a story around all of that. I don’t like to be beholden to just one person.”
Tyson responded to the producers, staying on the attack.
“They say this story is an exploration of a Black man. It’s more like an exploitation of a Black man,” the former heavyweight champion said. “Hulu thinks their tracks are covered by hiring Black sacrificial lambs to play the part as front men for their backdoor robbery is appalling. I will always remember this blatant disregard of my dignity.”