Did Rick Perry Cheat ‘Machete’ Producers Out of $2 Million?

Poor, wayward Rick Perry. When he entered the GOP presidential candidate field last summer after hitting the current Republican checkmarks of white, well-coiffed and sort of crazy, he probably figured it would be a quick yee-haw to the front of the party ticket. Instead, he forgot that in order to be president you have to actually seem presidential, which means remembering your stances on issues and not releasing homophobic ads whilst dressed like Ennis Del Mar. Citing low numbers, Perry dropped out of the race this morning and endorsed Newt Gingrich, saying "the eyes are the doors to the house and Mitt Romney’s soul is hard to get into." (????) That makes it perfect time to pile on the misery: less than an hour ago, The Hollywood Reporter released a story from their upcoming issue in which Perry is accused of defrauding the makers of Machete out of $2 million.

Rick Schwartz, a producer on the Danny Trejo vehicle about a murderous Mexican, offers up a tale of promises and deceit. Machete was filmed in Texas, and before shooting, Perry said that the production would get twenty cents back on every dollar they spent in in the Lone Star State. After the expenditures were tracked and filed and the film was released, Schwartz claims that Perry’s people reneged on their promise. "They felt the film ‘portrayed Texans in a negative fashion,’" he writes. "This heretofore unmentioned clause was a legal loophole for them not to pay us — something about protecting the gentle folks of Texas from slander. They could have called it what it is: good, old-fashioned censorship."

"It would be like Gov. Andrew Cuomo denying us a New York tax credit on Black Swan because he was concerned that all New Yorkers would be perceived as paranoid, bisexual ballerinas," he adds. Regardless of the money owed to him, Schwartz says it’s just a stupid decision altogether, as no studio will risk shooting in a state that could arbitrarily decide to back out of a financial agreement. Not when there’s 40-some other states just asking for the money and business. Perry hasn’t released a counterstatement, but I can guess what it’ll be: "Nuh-uh!"