Hulu announced the unauthorized "Iron Mike" limited series by the production team behind "I, Tonya," including Margot Robbie, and "Mixed-ish" showrunner Karin Gist.
Hulu dropped a slew of announcements on Thursday about returning and upcoming program, but while boxing fans may have been excited to hear about the streamer's upcoming "Iron Mike" series, they may want to reconsider because Iron Mike himself is most definitely not.
In fact, the former heavyweight boxing champ slammed the unauthorized project, calling it "tone-deaf cultural misappropriation" in a scathing statement released shortly after the announcement.
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"Hulu’s announcement to do an unauthorized miniseries of the Tyson story without compensation, although unfortunate, isn’t surprising," he posted to his Instagram, alongside a call to boycott Hulu.
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"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 my life story," he continued.
Tyson slammed the streamer's perceived motives, as well, saying, "To make this announcement during Black History Month only confirms Hulu’s concern for dollars over respect for Black story rights."
He went on to promise that there is an authorized take on his life story currently in development, saying that "Hollywood needs to be more sensitive to Black experiences especially after all that has transpired in 2020."
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In announcing the eight-part series, Hulu describes "Iron Mike" as taking a deep dive into the "wild, tragic and controversial life and career behind one of the most polarizing figures in sports culture."
As part of his boycott statement, Tyson also claims that there is systemic racism at work behind Hulu's decision to tell his story without his involvement. Hulu declined to comment on Variety's coverage of Tyson's post.
"These actions taken by Hulu are just the tip of the iceberg," he wrote. "We shouldn't be surprised by these abhorrent actions as they represent the systemic racism that has plagued Hollywood for its entire existence."
He went on to criticize the streamer's efforts toward greater diversity and inclusion, writing, "These corporate giants hide behind ploys and praise themselves for offering tone-deaf attempts at diversity and inclusion like Hulu's 'Black Stories' playlist that recommends stories about black culture to viewers on the app."
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"Yet behind closed doors they steal stories from the Black community," Tyson wrote.
In the accompanying caption to his post, Tyson again noted the timing of the announcement coming in February, writing, "Hulu to announce stealing a Black athlete's story during Black History Month couldn't be more inappropriate or tone deaf."
"Iron Mike" reunites "I, Tonya" screenwriter Steven Rogers and director Craig Gillespie with the film's star Margot Robbie all serving as executive producers, Robbie through LuckyChap Entertainment alongside her husband Tom Ackerly and Brett Hedblom. Gillespie will also direct, with "Mixed-ish" showrunner Karen Gist taking up that banner for this series as well.
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