Filmmaker Tyler Perry was honored at the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award as presented by the impeccable Viola Davis, per Entertainment Tonight. Anyone who expected Perry’s speech to be anything but a call to action against hate and race-related violence, well, hasn’t been paying attention.
Perry was honored for his many charitable endeavors including donating 1,000 gift cards for cops to hand out to residents of Atlanta, paying for not just the funeral of Rayshard Brooks after he was shot by Atlanta police but also Brooks’ children’s college educations, or paying for someone’s groceries randomly, per CBS.
“My great friend, filmmaker, and philanthropist, Tyler Perry, personifies empathy,” Davis said introducing the award (via ET). “Tyler knows what it is to be hungry, to be without a home, to feel unsafe and uncertain. So when he buys groceries for 1,000 of his neighbors, supports a women’s shelter, or quietly pays tuition for a hard-working student, Tyler is coming from a place of shared experience.”
Perry then went on to deliver a long, impassioned speech — a speech that has fans on Twitter divided.
Tyler Perry's speech didn't resonate with everyone online
The central message of Tyler Perry’s speech was “Refuse hate.”
“I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican or because they are Black or white or LBGTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they are a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian,” Perry said at the ceremony (via ABC News).
Perry doesn’t mince words or beat around the bush and the message behind his speech was clear. Many online seemed to utterly love Perry’s words. One user praised his speech, writing, “Tyler Perry really nailed this speech!!! Good for him!! #Oscars.”
However, others called out Perry’s bit about police officers. “Police officers are not an oppressed group. No one ‘hates’ the police because of undue prejudice,” Kathleen Newman-Bremang of Refinery 29 tweeted. “It’s because they engage in state-sanctioned violence against all of the groups Tyler Perry said we shouldn’t hate! #Oscars”
Twitter is definitely divided on the subject of Perry and his speech. Playwright Jeremy O. Harris said: “Think what you will but Tyler Perry has definitely hired more black people than almost all these ppl combined #oscars.” Finally, this user said, “Tyler Perry slipping in “police officer” into his anti-hate speech,” along with a gif of Kramer in “Seinfeld” doing a double-take.
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