Former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson has accused an unauthorized television drama of stealing his life story, comparing the streaming platform behind the upcoming series to a “slave master.” “Mike,” which premieres on August 25 on US streamer Hulu, is a scripted drama reenacting moments from the controversial fighter’s life, from his early childhood to his rape conviction in 1992.
“Hulu is the streaming version of the slave master. They stole my story and didn’t pay me,” Tyson wrote on Instagram.
He added, “I don’t support their story of my life. It’s not 1822. It’s 2022. They stole my life story and didn’t pay me.”
“For the Hulu executives, I’m just afraid they could sell on the auction block,” he wrote, using asterisks instead of letters.
Hulu, which is only available in the United States, is majority-owned by Disney.
The show depicts Tyson being bullied with a lisp as a young child, his teenage years in and out of prison after joining a Brooklyn street gang, and his early start in boxing.
While the eight-part limited series shows Tyson in the ring during several famous fights, it focuses on his turbulent private life.
One episode focuses on Desiree Washington, the 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant who accused Tyson of rape in 1991. He was convicted the following year and received three years in prison.
The episode chronicles the events of the Indianapolis hotel room rape and subsequent trial, from Washington’s perspective and with her narration.
Creator and screenwriter Steven Rogers said the filmmakers actually “couldn’t talk to” Tyson because “his life rights had already been taken” by another project.
But he also pointed to the benefits of an illicit look at Tyson’s life, saying, “I don’t like being dependent on just one source.”
“I really enjoy doing research, getting all these different opinions and then telling a story around that,” he told a recent Television Critics Association panel.
“I don’t like being beholden to just one person.”
Trevante Rhodes, who plays Tyson in the eight-part limited series, said, “If anything, it feels best to disconnect yourself as much as possible.”
When asked if he was concerned about angering Tyson — regarded as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, who infamously bit a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear in a 1997 fight — Rhodes simply replied, “No.”
– ‘Worst man on earth’ –
While the show confronts allegations of domestic violence, the show also contextualizes the violence Tyson suffered as a child, the early loss of his mother to cancer, his drug addiction problems, and attempts by established figures to capitalize on Tyson’s lucrative success in the ring.
“When I was researching it, I found that a lot of the issues that we struggle with today — like Black Lives Matter and MeToo, and prison reform and addiction and mental health issues, all the things we struggle with — have their roots in the story of this one man,” said showrunner Karin Gist.
“So it felt like a really good time to tell it, through the lens of the meanest man on the planet.”
Rogers added, “I hope when he looks at it, he will change his mind.”
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