After more than 50 year associated with the Rocky franchise, Sylvester Stallone publicly called one of the series’ two original producers “parasitical” and accused him of keeping him from passing on some rights to the character to his children. In a series of Instagram posts, Stallone attacked Irwin Winkler (whose work as a producer also includes Raging BullThey Shoot Horses, Don’t They? and The Right Stuff) while praising Winkler’s former partner, Robert Chartoff, who died in 2015. Winkler and Chartoff produced the original Rocky from 1976, and each of the subsequent sequels.

The complaints began with a post aimed at Winkler’s son David in response to his book The Arrangement: A Love Story. Stallone called it “by far the worst” book he had ever read” and “unbearable worthless dreck.” (David Winkler is a credited producer on Rocky Balboa and all three Creed films.) Stallone then said he “barely every saw [Irwin Winkler] around in all those years” he was making Rocky.

He also added that he “really respected and LOVED” Robert Chartoff, but called “that crew...the worst unhuman beings I’ve ever met in the movie industry.” Stallone then claimed that “if it wasn’t for Winkler, there would’ve been at least another three Rockys.”

In a followup post on his Instagram a short while later, Stallone captioned a portrait of Winkler’s head on the body of a snake with “I really would like [to] have at least a little WHAT’s LEFT of my RIGHTS back, before passing it on to ONLY YOUR CHILDREN - I believe That would be a FAIR gesture.”

“This eats at my soul,” Stallone added, “because I wanted to leave something of Rocky for my children.”

While Stallone created the Rocky Balboa character and played him in every move to date, he was not a producer on original Rocky from 1976 — and in fact, was never credited on any of the films until the first Creed in 2015. The upcoming Creed IIII is the first movie in either franchise that Stallone has not starred in. Stallone previously said he “bowed out” of Creed III because it was moving the franchise “in a different direction.” Michael B. Jordan, who plays Adonis Creed in the series, will make his directorial debut with the project.

Creed III is scheduled to open in theaters on November 23, 2022.

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