The celeb-filled unveiling of Tyler Perry’s new multi-million dollar TV and film studio took place near Atlanta Saturday as protesters from the Writers Guild picketed outside against his firing of four writers on his series “House of Payne.”
Celebs attending the grand opening included Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, Louis Gossett, Jr., Holly Robinson Peete, Tracey Edmonds, L.A. Reid, singer John Legend, “America’s Next Top Model” winner Eva Pigford, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds.
The sprawling complex, which includes more than 200,000 square feet of studio and office space and sits on 30 acres that once housed Delta Air Lines’ finance, reservation and computer center. Perry will shoot his TBS sitcoms “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns” along with other film projects at the studio, reports the Associated Press.
Perry, 39, said the studio features five sound stages that will be named after Quincy Jones, Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee and Cicely Tyson — with one still unnamed. Poitier, Dee and Tyson were also on hand for the launch party.
As previously reported, the Writers Guild of America West filed an unfair-labor-practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against Perry after his studio fired four writers for the TBS comedy “House of Payne” who were seeking union representation.
Jeff Hermanson, an assistant executive director for the Writers Guild, said the four writers — Kellie Griffin, Christopher Moore, Teri Brown-Jackson and Lamont Ferrell — had sought a union contract because they felt they were underpaid and lacked benefits.
Johnson, a Los Angeles lawyer representing Perry, said the firing of the writers was related to “the quality of their work.”