Mike Tyson is right: Hulu’s exploitation of his story is more Hollywood racism

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By Solomon Jones |

The tale of Mike Tyson’s life is riveting.

Abandoned by his father at age 2, Tyson and his two siblings were raised by a single motherwho moved the family to a crime-ridden Brooklyn neighborhood called Brownsville. Tyson learned to fight, joined a gang, and was arrested repeatedly before he was sent to the Tryon School For Boys, which eventually led him to legendary trainer Cus D’Amato. It was D’Amato who took custody of Tyson when he was released from Tryon at 14. D’Amato told Tyson he could become heavyweight champion of the world. By the age of 20, Tyson did just that.

If you stopped right there, Tyson’s story is the kind of rags-to-riches tale that inspires and entertains. However, Mike Tyson is more complicated than that, and the complications are what make the story his own. Hulu, a live-streaming service looking to create standout content in a crowded field where Netflix is still king, is gambling that Tyson’s story will pay dividends as they launch a new drama series based on his life. It’s called Iron Mike, and the eight-episode biopic does not involve Tyson at all. He won’t be consulted, and perhaps most importantly, he won’t be paid.

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