'You’re not the audience’: Tyler Perry slams critics of his writing in new interview

The producer and studio head was named Variety’s ‘Showman of the Year’

Atlanta’s own Tyler Perry was just named “Showman of the Year” by Variety magazine, and, in the interview highlighting the accolade, the movie mogul talked about running his studios during the pandemic and the continued criticism of his writing style.

In various interviews, Perry has shared his story of going from being homeless in New Orleans to making making multimillion dollar movies and television shows over the last 20 years. In the Variety interview, the “Madea” star talks about his long career, the complexities of production during pandemic and the perennial discussion about the validity of his work.

Navigating the reopening of Tyler Perry Studios during the pandemic has been about looking out for the well-being and safety of his hundreds of employees. As the virus has persisted, Perry said he found it necessary to speak out about what he said was a mishandling of the coronavirus. He had previously avoided talking about politics.

“We’ve all been drafted on the worst reality show that’s ever been produced, and none of us have been paid for it,” Perry says. “For the last four and a half years or so, we have been dragged through the wringer, and it is completely exhausting. So many people are exhausted at the division, at the hate, at the pandemic — people are just exhausted and angry and frustrated. And if the people who bring hope [and] positivity give up, then the world has lost its balance.”

The actor, writer and producer said this year has proved that “negativity screams, and positivity whispers,” so his efforts to show how to move forward in such an uncertain time is an attempt to add to those whispers. Variety’s selection of the media mogul as showman of the year is due to that tenacity to remain optimistic during the last several months.

Tyler Perry Denies Exploiting Pain of Black Women Perry addressed claims that his films profited off of the suffering of black women during the premiere of his new romantic thriller, 'A Fall From Grace.' Tyler Perry, via 'Page Six' Tyler Perry, via 'Page Six' This statement follows recent backlash Perry received for saying he wrote the scripts for all of his TV shows and films without a writers room.

He said returning to production, being one of the first studio runners to do it, stemmed from his humble beginnings of facing adversity but pushing forward despite that. He spent years in financial ruins trying to entertain Black families across the country with his faith-based, humorous yet poignant plays.

“I know this sounds cliché and some people may think it’s bulls—, but the truth is, I’ve lived long enough and experienced enough good and bad to know that good wins when everybody pushes in that direction.”

When the topic of his critics came up during the interview, the 51-year-old did not hold back. His films have grossed millions of dollars over the years, and he just was designated a billionaire by Forbes earlier this year. The financial success and massive support should be proof enough of his talent, he told Variety.

“When I hear that kind of stuff, I’m thinking, ‘Are y’all looking at the ratings? Do you understand that the audience is in love with this?’” he says. “Because if you’re complaining about my writing, you’re not the audience. My audience loves the way that it’s done and the way the stories are told. And from the beginning, it’s always been about being true to them.”

His movies have been consistently panned by critics. The average Metacritic score for Perry’s 21 films is just 41.6 (out of 100), and critics on Rotten Tomatoes have also been censorious of the work, giving his films just a 27.38% on the Tomatometer scale. Still, his movies are almost 2.5 times more popular with audiences on the site.

Perry said he does not let the negative reviews consume him. Though he ignores most of it, he does try to find the points that have constructive perspectives on his films

“I never see a lot of it, but if it does get to me, I look for truth in it. There’s a lot of it that’s just vitriolic; that’s just ‘I’m going to hate on him because he’s Tyler Perry.’ I get that. But when there’s truth in the criticism, like, ‘Why did he do this, this and this?’ I go, ‘Hmm, let me think about that.’”