Tags: butler | daniels | angry | racism

'Butler' Director Daniels Admits Anger at White People

Image: 'Butler' Director Daniels Admits Anger at White People

Tuesday, 03 Dec 2013 11:38 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Producer and director Lee Daniels stunned the audience at the Gotham Independent Film Awards Monday night by admitting that he "became angry at white people" while doing the research for his film "The Butler," starring Forest Whitaker.

Daniels, a presenter at the New York event, which ostensibly kicks off the awards season, paid tribute to Whitaker's performance in the hit film, noting that the actor helped him work though his anger, according to deadline.com.

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“When I did research for 'The Butler' I became very angry at white people . . . It's not funny what happened," said Daniels, who wrote and directed the film.

"The lesson I learned when I did 'The Butler' was that Forest told me to keep my anger in, to not be a stereotypical angry black man. Because if I were angry and I saw racism, then it became real," he said.

"I had to step above it and pretend it wasn’t there. How do you tell your 17-year-old son that you can’t go into a 7-Eleven because you’re African-American and a dude? But Forest helped me through that. He taught me a lot.”

Daniels' movie is loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen, played by Whitaker, who worked as a butler in the White House for 34 years under eight presidents before resigning in 1986 during the Ronald Reagan presidency.

When the film was released this past summer, it drew strong criticism from some historians and former Reagan aides who said it went too far in portraying the former president as racially insensitive.

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