Ex-‘Iron Man’ Actor Slapped With $1 Million Government Order

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Terrence Howard and Robert Downey Jr. together in 'Iron Man'

Credit: Marvel Studios

Former Iron Man actor Terrence Howard has been slapped with an order to pay nearly $1 million to the U.S. government in back taxes, interest, and penalties.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Academy Award-nominated star allegedly spent over a year avoiding IRS efforts to collect $578,000 in income taxes that he apparently failed to pay over the course of nine years.

Terrence Howard War Machine - 'Iron Man' (2008)
Credit: Marvel Studios

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When the Justice Department sued Howard in 2022, Howard’s only response was reportedly a voicemail he left on the phone of a tax attorney in November.

During this voicemail, he argued that it was “immoral for the United States government to charge taxes to the descendants of slaves.”

The full transcript quotes Howard as saying: “Four hundred years of forced labor and never receiving any compensation for it. Now you have the gall to try and prosecute and charge taxes to the descendants of a broken people that you are responsible for causing the breakage.”

Iron Man War Machine
Source: Syfy

While Howard was then cut off mid-sentence, he called back to leave another message, this time adding: “In truth, the entire United States should, by default, become the property of the descendants of slaves,” he said. “But since you do not have the ability [or] the courage to do it, let’s try this in court. … We’re gonna bring you down.”

Despite these threats, Howard never countersued. Law360 reports that U.S. District Judge John F. Murphy has now granted the government’s request to enter a $903,115 default judgment against the actor, who announced his retirement from acting in 2022.

Terrence Howard and Robert Downey Jr. together in 'Iron Man'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: ‘Iron Man’ Recasting – Don Cheadle Blindsided By Role Takeover Accusation

Howard previously received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor following his performance as Djay in Hustle and Flow (2005). He also portrayed hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon in Empire between 2015 and 2020. However, to many he is best known for his short but significant stint as James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes (AKA War Machine), the best friend of Robert Downey Jr.’s superhero Tony Stark, in Iron Man (2008). (Ironically, Rhodey works for the government).

Originally set to reprise his role in the film’s sequels, Howard departed the Marvel Cinematic Universe and was replaced by Don Cheadle for Iron Man 2 (2010) and beyond. This was reportedly due to Marvel increasing Downey Jr.’s salary to a rumored $10 million (plus a share of profits) and cutting Howard’s salary to just $40,000 per film.

Howard allegedly took offense to the decrease, arguing that he had helped Downey Jr. land the role of Iron Man (something Marvel later denied) and took a $1 million pay cut to make it happen. Howard told NPR in 2008 that Marvel doesn’t always stick to its “good-faith negotiations.”

Do you prefer Terrence Howard or Don Cheadle’s take on Rhodey? Let us know in the comments below?

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