Tyler Perry has responded to the criticism about the predominantly white casting of his new TLC series Too Close To Home. He says complaints about his choices are “reverse racism.”
The controversial filmmaker is famous for his films that typically revolve around black characters and, though some have criticized his characters, they frequently provide opportunities for black actors in an industry that gives few roles to actors that aren’t white. But the casting of his new series, which features all white leads, has many of his fans feeling betrayed. Some have even called the show, which is about a woman who leaves Washington, D.C. after a scandalous affair with the president, a white version of Shonda Rhimes' Scandal.
"That's totally reverse racism, because it was coming from African-American people," Perry said in an interview with the Associated Press. "I don't know if it was because they thought I should only be giving jobs to black people. Well, I think that's ridiculous. If you look at the hundreds of black people I've given jobs to and even the ones I've made millionaires, people of color, I just think it's unfair."
The AP reports that Perry is now “more color-blind than ever.”
"I'm just finding out more as I travel the country and world, the more I meet people, we're all the same," he said. "We all got the same dramas. So I'm not seeing color as much as I did anymore in the sense of our stories. Our stories are so similar."
He says the character, who grew up in a trailer park community in Alabama, was inspired by his own experienced living in a trailer park.
"The same stories I'm relating to and telling, it could be anyone black or white. I'm not trying to the shine a light on a certain stereotype or certain people in a trailer park. It's my own experiences from having spent time and sleeping there," he told the AP.
While his last point is valid, his remarks that all races have "the same dramas" is eyebrow-raising given how palpable and quantifiable racism still is in the U.S. But apparently Tyler Perry is living in a post-race world. We’ll update you if he ever comes back to reality.