Lee Daniels: ‘I Became Very Angry at White People’

The Butler writer and director tells the audience at the Gotham Independent Film Awards about his research for the film.

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Lee Daniels

Jemal Countess/Getty Images for IFP

Lee Daniels didn't mince his words during his tribute speech to Forest Whitaker at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, Deadline reports.

At one point, the director of The Butler told the crowd, "Forest would[n't] like to hear all you talking through my speech, so shut the f--k up." Once the crowd quieted, he commenced to tell the audience that working on the movie make him angry at white people.

“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."

The Butler 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.

Read more at Deadline.

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