Belfast Telegraph

Michael Reagan: Butler film 'lies'

Ronald Reagan's son Michael has hit out at Lee Daniels' The Butler, claiming it is "a bunch of lies."

The 68-year-old talk show host, who was adopted by Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman, described the portrayal of his father - played by Alan Rickman - in the historical drama as "racist".

He wrote on Newsmax.com: "There you go again, Hollywood. You've taken a great story about a real person and real events and twisted it into a bunch of lies.

"Portraying Ronald Reagan as a racist because he was in favour of lifting economic sanctions against South Africa is simplistic and dishonest. If you knew my father, you'd know he was the last person on Earth you would call a racist."

The film, written by Danny Strong, stars Forest Whitaker as White House butler Cecil Gaines, based on Eugene Allen - the steward who served eight presidents.

It features a star-studded cast including Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey, Robin Williams and David Oyelowo among others.

Michael continued: "If Strong had gotten his 'facts' from the Reagan biographies, he'd have learned that when my father was playing football at Eureka College one of his best friends was a black teammate.

"Strong also would have learned that my father invited black players home for dinner and once... he invited two players to stay overnight at his house.

"When my father was governor of California he appointed more blacks to positions of power than any of his predecessors - combined. It's appalling to me that someone is trying to imply my father was a racist. He and Nancy and the rest of the Reagan family treated Mr Allen with the utmost respect."

Lee Daniels' The Butler is top of the US box office, with a UK release date yet to be announced.

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