An interview in which prolific Black sitcom pioneer Eric Monte criticizes Norman Lear has resurfaced, including a claim that he stole his idea for The Jeffersons.
Lear is often regarded as one of the best minds in television, credited with shows like Good Times, The Jeffersons and others. But Cooley High creator Eric Monte, who also co-created Good Times, The Jeffersons, What’s Happening!! and What’s Happening Now!!, once called Lear a “thief.”
According to the Atlanta Black Star, social media star Dara Star Tucker talked to her viewers via her podcast, I’m All Over the Place, about Monte’s allegations against Lear by bringing up his 2010 interview with Up Front.
In the interview, Monte claimed Lear stole his idea for The Jeffersons and called him "a racist, a hypocrite, a thief and a liar."
“I caught hell because Norman Lear was incredibly racist, but he didn’t think so,” he said in the interview. “And everything they wrote was stereotypic…They thought of Black humor as ‘Yassah boss, I’s wanna go down by da river…’ but I’d fight them tooth and nail. They’d ignore it in the offices. Take that ‘Yassah’ stuff down to the cast. John Amos, Esther Rolle and Janet DuBois would have a fit.”
Monte sued Lear, ABC, and others; the suit ended in a $1 million settlement in favor of Monte because, as Atlanta Black Star reports, Monte couldn't find proper representation.
Tucker’s fans were thankful for Tucker bringing Monte’s story to light, with one saying, “This story needs to be amplified. I want Monte to get his flowers while we still have the chance.”
Others wrote about how awful it is for Monte to have to have endured racism in his career, with one writing, “I can’t NOT believe Mr. Monte because it makes logical sense.”