Tyler Perry is fiercely defending his new TLC series “Too Close to Home” and calling the judgment against his white lead actors “reverse racism.”
Upon the series’ debut in Aug. 2016, many on social media blasted the series for being a “white ‘Scandal,” comparing it to the hit ABC drama starring Kerry Washington. Another user reveled in the observation that Perry “writes horrible s— for white people too.”
But Perry dismissed such criticism while speaking to the Associated Press Friday, Dec. 30.
“That’s totally reverse racism because it was coming from African-American people,” Perry said. “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.”
Perry further explained his views by saying traveling across the U.S. influenced his colorblind approach to television making.
“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.”
This isn’t the first time Perry has discussed the white stars of “Too Close to Home.” When he spoke to the Tom Joyner Morning Show in August, he expressed irritation about the public’s fixation on the actors’ race.
“I’m so sick of folks asking me why I have a show full of white folks,” he said. “A reporter asked me this. I’m thinking, ‘What the hell?’ Stop asking me that damn question. People are people.”
“Too Close to Home,” which is the first scripted show for TLC, centers on Anna, a woman plagued by media attention following a scandalous affair with the president of the United States. The spotlight forced her to hide away in the Alabama trailer park she grew up in, a place she once wanted to leave. The drama has been picked up for a second season and will premiere Jan. 4 at 10 p.m. on TLC.