Avery Brooks Blacklisted?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by ichab, Aug 17, 2021.

  1. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I'm calling bullshit on that one.
     
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  2. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    That was my first reaction as I’d never heard that before. But Ira Behr says it himself in the video Bad Thoughts linked to. I doubt Behr would make stuff like that up.
     
  3. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Then the call itself was bullshit. :shrug:

    I mean, not only is this kind of paranoia sadly common, but it doesn't make any logical sense: If Avery Brooks really hates white people, he wouldn't have worked on a series which employed so many of them, would he?
     
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  4. plynch

    plynch Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I doubt he does.
    But yes, he might have.
    If you want to be an actor, raise your own and your people's standing in the public eye, you certainly might act with a group of people who belong to a type you don't like.
    Again, I doubt that was his opinion, but I could certainly see someone doing that.
     
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  5. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I am not sure why so many feel incredulous about what I wrote. I am always careful when writing substantive things about Trek, whether they come from episodes, guidebooks (especially Fifty Year Mission), streams, podcasts, or conventions. I always present these facts WYSIWYG, not embellishing with my opinion. I am always careful delineating what is in evidence from my opinion with my language.

    I'm not sure that the phone call requires any special explanation. Back in 1992, it may have been difficult determining who had what job on the show, especially in the primitive days of the internet. Conversely, the division of labor among producers could be fuzzy with lots of overlap, which seems to be suggested in this very stream where Behr says he was in the loop on casting. Moreover, is it any surprise that there are producers in Hollywood who play mind games or carry grudges? Have we forgotten the accusations of Berman's misogyny against Farrell, or how one producer started talking about writing Patrick Stewart off the show when the actor objected to something (it's in Chaos on the Bridge, if anyone thinks I am making things up)?
     
  6. AntonyF

    AntonyF Official Tahmoh Taster Rear Admiral

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    Bad Thoughts I don't think it's person it's just people post a lot of crap! You did the best thing as you backed it up with evidence as it shuts people on that one.

    I think to use your term he is a "a peculiar cat". He's well known on a creative level to be quite different in his style. Whereas Stewart became the father of the TNG set, Brooks was more insular... focused on the craft.

    You only have to watch some video footage of him (I remember one where he was talking about music, can't remember where) and he's certainly on a different level!

    The anti-white comments to me sounds like a grudge comment. It has a lot of echos of difficult women in the industry have suffered. If you have an opinion, step above what is perceived as your station, then bham. That call could have been from anyone with a grudge. and the fact that it went to Behr adds credence to that it was just a personal thought of someone talking to him, not an official communication to one of the more senior producers.

    That said... seeing what is coming out about Joss Whedon these days people can surprise you! But I tend to think that there's too many people involved in Trek for something not to have come out if there were issues. I mean look at Voyager, nothing didn't make it to the news when there were issues.
     
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  7. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    If such a phone call was indeed placed, there’s a whole range of opinions Brooks could have expressed about race relations that a reactionary race alarmist could interpret as “Hates white people”.

    It’s well established he insisted all Sisko’s love interests to be black. Imagine how a Fox News personality would twist that fact.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2021
  8. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Holy fuck, not true, debunked ad nauseum. He recommended Chase Masterson be considered as a love interest for Sisko.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2021
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  9. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    Interesting, I've heard it repeated like 20 times here like it's gospel. *shrug*

    But if it were true, it's an example of the sort of thing the Tucker Carlson types would escalate to racism accusations.
     
  10. matthunter

    matthunter Admiral Admiral

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    I would say "if it were false" or even "it was a hallucination whilst on MASSIVE amounts of mushrooms" would cause Carlson to escalate it to racism.

    Of course, "escalate" means racism is above his normal level. Whereas in truth racism is his fucking default.
     
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  11. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly, the point is, whoever placed that call to Ira Steven Behr was probably in that category.
     
  12. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I believe that there is a tendency among some fans (and critics) to ascribe everything about race, from stories to casting choices, to Brooks and his interest in advancing the black community. This is a very narrow interpretation of how the show was built and run, and indeed, the amount of direct influence Brooks exercised over the production. Michael Piller conceived Sisko with Berman's blessing as a black man with a black son. They threw open the casting to all sorts of men, but they fell in love with Brooks. Many of the stories that came from season 2 onward (from Paradise) reflect Behr's desire to encourage Brooks to bring the same passion to Sisko that he brought to his other works. Brooks was insistent on emphasizing the family aspects of Sisko, which probably made it difficult to turn him into a womanizer or have a series of short term romances. He is the only series lead to have a successful long-term relationship during the series. Two relationships does not seem like a big enough sample to get to Sisko's tastes. Brooks did recommend that MAsterson be considered a future love interest for Sisko. However, once they cast Yates, it would seem that a long term love interest was locked into place (Penny Johnson Gerald claimed (see SDCC WWLB panel) that she and Brooks has such chemistry with one another that they avoided being alone with each other). According to Behr, Brooks didn't want Sisko to seem to frivolous (7th Rule's Virtual Con 2020), avoiding holodeck episodes. Writing the speech into Badda Bing Badda Bang was Behr's effort to give Sisko a reason to engage in the holodeck program, making it a meainingful statement about recreation and remembrance. There is, of course, the reshot seen about coming back in the finale, which Brooks objected to because it would reflect poorly on black fatherhood.

    That's it. Brooks did not assert his politics much into the show. The producers and writers were more likely to use Sisko as a vehicle to challenge 90s notions of minorities and to inspire Brooks.
     
  13. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    The way I heard it is Avery Brooks was always an eccentric individual and that just became much-much-much truer as time passed.
     
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  14. daedalus5

    daedalus5 Rear Admiral Moderator

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    The Captains documentary didn’t do him any flattery at all. Nicole DeBoer also calls him Mr Brooks. It’s a bit weird. Probably just very formal, no nonsense sort of guy, but his Captains appearance is just plainly odd.
     
  15. ichab

    ichab Commodore Commodore

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    First let me say...thank you for your input. :beer:

    The only thing I remember Brooks in besides DS9 was American History X (which also starred another Trek alumni: Jennifer Lien.) I always liked his role on the show and was curious why he wasn't used more.

    On the subject of love interests, imo, Sisko's relationship with Kassidy Yates was the best of all the personal relationships we've seen in Star Trek because it wasn't forced and felt real. Relationships were another area that DS9 writers did so much better than the other shows because they let them develop between characters naturally over time eg: Odo/Kira, Worf/Dax. As much as I enjoyed Chase Masterson, she would have made as much sense as a love interest for Sisko as Troi did for Worf. I'm glad it rolled the way it did.
     
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  16. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    If someone called Behr with a warning it was doubtless because this person knew him from some previous show, not because they were cold-calling the top dog. That's how Hollywood works.
     
  17. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    As I understand, Avery Brooks is the very opposite of formal in real life and Sisko was an acting job for an eccentric goofball.
     
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  18. Vale

    Vale Commander Red Shirt

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    I think anyone who's seen The Captains can have no doubt of this. Brooks comes across as intense and... unusual. Not in any particularly unpleasant way, but I can see how it might be difficult to be around for long periods, especially if you're just not on his wavelength. The whole sequence where Brooks will only answer questions by playing piano chords seems to leave even William Shatner genuinely lost for words.
     
  19. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Brooks was formal, but he gave it perhaps more than he asked for it. According to Nana Visitor, he went out of his way to learn the names of everyone in set, including crew, and would address them as Mr. Or Ms. She also says that he was the first person ever to ask her how she would like her first name pronounced. He could be reserved, and Siddig said that he would not socialize on set. On the other hand, both Visitor and Garrett Wang said he was endearing to children and charming to seniors. Wang said that although he never had a conversation with Brooks, he went out of his way to make Wang's parents feel welcome when they visited.
     
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  20. Scionz

    Scionz Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The Captain, being the lead of the show (except Discovery) has set the tone of every set going back to TOS.

    We know TOS was very toxic. Those stories were legend. Many of them had essentially no relationship outside of show/movie related functions over the next 40 years.

    TNG had a very warm atmosphere after the first two seasons (basically coinciding with the retirement of Gene, banning of Leonard Maizlish and quitting of some others). The cast got to be like family and they still see each other often and get together once a year. It's all one big gang of friends, and Patrick Stewart's personality played a key role in shaping that.

    DS9, we know from accounts at the time, was the most formal of the shows. Different groups or pairs got along with each other well - The Ferengi and friends, Alexander Siddig and Colm Meany, Nana Visitor and Siddig, Visitor and Farrell, Brooks and Lofton - but perhaps owing to the nature of the show with its large main cast and huge cast of recurring characters (that might as well have been main characters at some points) there was never the "family" unit of DS9 like TNG. That's not to say it evidently they didn't get along well, when they were rarely all assembled, like during the wrap at Vics or the Baseball episode. I never heard of inter-actor antagonism. But it wasn't tight. Some actors like Brooks and Siddig made it just a good 7 year gig in a career. Others rode it longer. In short, this was the set that followed the rules of a typical Hollywood production.

    Voyager, from what I remember reading at the time was generally tight like TNG, but it had some problems between the cast and producers/writers. The cast got along with each other very well (and still does, like TNG, all these years later), but there was varying levels of of animosity between some members of the cast and the show's producers. The writers lost interest in Chakotay and Beltran made a good stink about it as it was happening. Adding Seven of Nine to the cast, though the actors liked Jeri Ryan, was disruptive in Season 4 and 5 particularly (largely to Chakotay and Kim's expense). Robert Picardo liked to improv and do more than just act, and this caused some difficulties sometimes. And of course, Jennifer Lien left the show and everyone involved took a code of silence for over 15 years about why (significant substance abuse and depression that made her late to shooting days, or showing up drunk). Compared to TNG it was a troubled set and the crew pushed the "second tier" of the cast around they way they didn't on TNG after Season 2.

    Enterprise, by all accounts, was a very friendly set and all the cast and crew got along well with none of drama of Voyager. The biggest issue is the ratings weren't any good and attempt after attempt to improve them failed. Especially in the last season, you got a sense that the cast was pretty much living the end of Toy Story 3 together, holding hands as the show slipped into the incinerator. I think what's held them together over the last 15 years is a sense that Enterprise's last season was the best of the series, the show was some of the best Trek had to offer when it was at it's best, and in many ways was way ahead of its time and holds up well.

    In short, each Trek show has had a different production experience, and DS9s was certainly the most divergent from all of them and Brooks evidently far more aloof than Stewart, Mulgrew or Bakula were. But DS9 is also such a different show that it's probably an apples-to-oranges comparison. I think it's telling that we never heard another actor utter a single negative word about Brooks, and many have said he's a reserved gentleman who treated everyone around him with the highest respect.
     
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