No More Auction Block for Thee
By Robert Ecksel on August 26, 2022
The unauthorized miniseries debuted Thursday night to the consternation of Mike Tyson.
The first two episodes of an unauthorized eight-episode miniseries titled “Mike” debuted Thursday night on Hulu, much to the consternation of Mike Tyson. He had plans of his own, with A-list collaborators like Martin Scorsese, director of “Raging Bull,” and Jamie Foxx producing. Foxx was going to star as well. He's been chomping at the bit to play the champ. He was going to do for Mike Tyson what he did for Ray Charles.
Hulu beat them to the punch.
“I have been looking to tell my story for quite some time,” said Tyson in a statement, a project that “not only captures my professional and personal journey but also inspires and entertains.”
Then he vented on Instagram: “Hulu’s announcement to do an unauthorized mini-series of the Tyson story without compensation, although unfortunate, isn’t surprising. This announcement on the heels of social disparities in our country is a prime example of how Hulu’s corporate greed led to this tone-deaf cultural misappropriation of the Tyson life story.”
Tyson was always a good talker. But he never sounded like Marcus Garvey or Johnnie Cochrane before. And he was just getting started.
“Don’t let Hulu fool you,” he wrote. “I don’t support their story about my life. They stole my life story and didn’t pay me. To Hulu executives I’m just a n****r they can sell on the auction block.”
In defense of Hulu’s “cultural appropriation,” one of stars of new biopic, Russell Hornsby, who portrays Don King, was deferential, at least at first.
He told the New York Post that “we try to honor Mike Tyson and show some truths.”
Hornsby might have stopped while he was ahead.
“He is not the first one to have a grievance about how he is portrayed in film or how he may be portrayed in books,” Hornsby said. “This is a no-holds-barred look at Tyson and his life and you have to take the crooked with the straight.”
Give me crooked with the straight, good with the bad, yin with the yang, bitter with the sweet…science.
Hornsby continued, “I think it’s okay for Mike to feel that way. This man has been through a lot. He had a lot of ups and downs and he has a right to feel that way, but I am sure that all will be handled in the future. I’m sure that he has lawyers, Hulu has lawyers and they will figure it out.”
What I’ve seen of “Mike” wasn't half bad. It was only a third bad. Professionally done, the acting and sets are good. So is the hip-hop and cinematography. But it’s somebody else’s vision, not Mike Tyson’s. Maybe those for whom boxing means nothing can learn from the miniseries. For the rest of us, it’s a gratuitous rehash. Do yourself a favor. Save your money. Wait for Mike Tyson’s version of his life story, assuming it materializes, assuming you haven’t seen it already.