Jeffrey Wright Versus Paul F. Tompkins Was the Weirdest Celebrity Feud Ever

The Oscar nominee wasn’t a big fan of one of Tompkins’ podcast appearances
Jeffrey Wright Versus Paul F. Tompkins Was the Weirdest Celebrity Feud Ever

While he sadly didn’t take home an Oscar for his work in the excellent American Fiction, Jeffrey Wright remains one our greatest living actors. From his acclaimed performances in Angels in America and Basquiat, to more recent appearances in blockbusters like Casino Royale and The Batman, Wright routinely elevates any film or TV project he’s in. 

A tad lower on his list of accomplishments, nearly 10 years ago, Wright was part of one of the most baffling, surprisingly intense online celebrity spats in recent memory, briefly feuding with beloved comedian and mandatory podcast guest Paul F. Tompkins. 

It all started back in 2011, when Tompkins appeared on Doug Benson’s Doug Loves Movies podcast along with a panel of comics that included Eugene Mirman. During a regular segment of the show, in which guests chat about recent movies they’ve seen, Tompkins recounted how he’d caught the sci-fi thriller Source Code, which features Wright in a supporting role.

Tompkins admitted that his enjoyment of the movie was somewhat marred by a recent visit to Wright’s IMDb page, specifically because of its “super pretentious” bio, which, according to Tompkins, proclaimed that Wright was “quite possibly, the most underrated, and underexposed actor of his caliber and generation.” The overly “histrionic” tone left Tompkins “sort of convinced that he wrote it himself.”

While Tompkins very likely forgot about this fleeting complaint as time went on, it eventually made its way to the ears of Wright. More than three years after the Doug Loves Movies episode went online, Wright took to Twitter to castigate Tompkins for the bit. And things were pretty heated right from the start: Wright tagged Tompkins in the post, lambasting him for mocking the “fan-written” IMDb bio, adding, “You're a douchebag critic pretending to be a douchebag hack. #BioThat.” 

Tompkins’ response? “Hi!!!!!”

The interaction continued, with Tompkins asking why Wright doesn’t “do more comedies,” to which the actor responded: “It would be rude, I guess @PFTompkins to ask the same of you. You’re a comedian, yes?” When another user asked why Wright was taking Tompkins’ joke so seriously, he defended himself: “Don’t mind being satirized. But spitefully re something I didn’t do? F that.”

One can see why Wright would be upset about having been publicly ridiculed for a bio that was written by some random stranger. On the other hand, calling a comedian a “douchebag hack” over a fairly lighthearted podcast conversation (concerning a movie in which Jake Gyllenhaal travels through time, no less) seems a little extreme. Also, apparently future Jeopardy! host Ken Jennings waded into the argument, although his Tweets seem to have been deleted at some point in the past decade.

It’s not totally out of character for Wright to argue with other users on social media. More recently, he took issue with people who kept bringing up the gold mine he allegedly owned. 

Which a lot of people don’t know much about. Probably because it’s not in his IMDb bio. 

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this). 


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