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This story first appeared in the Oct. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
It was a train wreck while it lasted. Hugh Jackman‘s former producing partner John Palermo (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) has taken down his incendiary Facebook page, which had Hollywood buzzing about its plentiful racist comments.
“I’m crazy about Julie Chen!!!” he wrote Sept. 12 after the Big Brother host discussed her early career eye surgery. “Now that her eyes are finally open, she should leave Monster Moonves.”
The same day, regarding news that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West had moved into a Bel-Air house: “There goes the neighborhood!!! It looks like a Poor Persian Palace, where’s Kris Jenner when you need her?! #MoneyCantBuyADumbNiggaClass.”
And in response to an article about Anderson Cooper attending the opening of his boyfriend’s gay bar, he simply typed: “#SmellsLikeLubeAndHIV.”
Industry colleagues have speculated that Palermo, who left his Fox lot perch after his contract expired more than a year ago, has flamed out. Reached for comment, Palermo, who says he’s “taking a bit of a sabbatical” (his last major credit was Drive), insists he’s having a breakthrough, not a breakdown.
Surprisingly, he tells THR that his statements — which were interspersed with bleeding-heart liberal postings and call-outs to great red-carpet style moments — actually are meant to tweak Hollywood’s own ingrained racism. “Maybe people [who take offense] will look in the mirror and say, ‘When was the last time I called Les Moonves and asked for an African-American to play opposite me?’ “
Of course, if shock value is what Palermo was after in his seemingly quixotic quest to promote dialogue, most seem to have missed his intent. For his part, he doesn’t seem to mind. “I stopped caring about what Hollywood thinks of me years ago,” he said. “I’ve got nothing to lose, nothing to gain. I’m a bored dude, unemployed, sitting at home in the Valley. For me, some of the best ways to overcome serious issues is to laugh about them. Because then you truly understand where that ignorance is coming from.”
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