Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
BREAKING! Director Todd Phillips Announces Plan to Scrub Mike Tyson from Hangover 2 After Racist Tirade
[File under: No, not really.]
In what some are calling "the boldest post-release edit since George Lucas inserted Vader's "No!" into Episode VI," Hangover 2 director Todd Phillips today announced that he would digitally scrub Mike Tyson from the film, following the former boxer's recent NSFW racist raunch-fest on ESPN radio. The film, which is set for release on DVD and Blu-Ray in December, will instead feature actor Ving Rhames in the role.
“I thought Mike was great in the movie," said Phillips in a statement released by Warner Brothers today, "and I had the full backing of Jeff Robinov and his team. But I realize filmmaking is a collaborative effort, sometimes even after the fact, and the appearance ultimately did not have the full support of my entire cast and crew.”
Many people close to Hangover 2's production say that the first sign of trouble came when actor Paul Giamatti, who plays a drug dealer in the film, gave an interview to the Big Hollywood podcast following Tyson's outburst. Though he did not allude to the film by name, Giamatti said that "with a movie you’ve already acted in, you don’t have a lot of control. I know, I’m not the boss. But I’m in a deep protest right now with a movie I did, up in arms about something.”
At issue is Tyson's statement that "everybody's gotta get that out of their system when they get out of college. 'Gotta get me a black man' - every white girl, uppity middle-class, you know - 'Gotta get me a black man before I go and prosper in this white world.' And us black guys, of course, we gotta get some of them pink cheeks before we go back in the ghetto." Tyson also made a number of crude allusions to sexual congress between former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and former NBA star Dennis Rodman, but it was the racist stereotypes embodied in the "pink cheeks" comment that set critics' fingers wagging. "Tyson just brought the notion of 'jungle fever,' rightly consigned to the ash heap of history, back to the forefront of the national dialogue on race relations," lamented Harvard sociologist Marlowe Hastings-Johnson. "Seeing this kind of garbage spread across the media landscape so close on the heels of the opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial is a genuine tragedy, and frankly, it leaves me queasy. I honestly thought we were better than this."