Viola Davis was showered with a prolonged and rousing standing ovation when she made history on Sunday night by becoming the first black woman to win Best Actress Emmy Award. She lauded even greater for the inspirational acceptance speech that paid homage to her thespian predecessors.
But there was one person who stewed and steamed while Davis was the center of the entertainment universe for a brief moment — and she was definitely not a fan of her acceptance speech. In fact, soap opera star Nancy Lee Grahn had the audacity to even suggest that Davis has never been victimized by discrimination in Hollywood.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Sept. 20, Grahn tored into Davis’ emotional, winning moment onstage during the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards.
“I wish I loved #ViolaDavis Speech,” wrote Grahn, 57, who plays Alexis Cassadine on General Hospital. “But I thought she should have let @shondarhimes write it.”
Grahn, still steaming from, then went volcanic on her Twitter account and went in hard on Davis
“Im a f–king actress for 40 yrs. None of us get respect or opportunity we deserve. Emmys not venue 4 racial opportunity. ALL women belittled,” she wrote in a now-deleted tweet that was thankfully captured by BuzzFeed.
It was in this forum that her diatribe against Davis included her theory that Davis hasn’t experienced discrimination in Hollywood.
“I think she’s the bees knees but she’s elite of TV performers,”she tweeted to a fan. “Brilliant as she is. She has never been discriminated against.”
After getting her wig blown back from the intense backlash from the Internet, Grahn channeled her inner Michael Jackson and walked back her words:
“I never mean to diminish her accomplishment. I wish I could get her roles. She is a goddess. I want equality 4 ALL women, not just actors. I apologize 2 anyone who I offended. I’m women advocate since I became one. After reading responses, I hear u and my tweet was badly phrased.”
When the hits kept coming from Davis defenders and fans, Grahn penned an even longer mea culpa:
“I apologize for my earlier tweets and now realize I need to check my own privilege,” Grahn wrote. “My intention was not to take this historic and important moment from Viola Davis or other women of color but I realize that my intention doesn’t matter here because that is what I ended up doing. I learned a lot tonight and I admit that there are still some things I don’t understand but I am trying to and will let this be a learning experience for me.”
As was previously reported, Davis, 50, shed some tears after becoming the first black woman ever to ever capture the Best Actress award at the Prime Time Emmy Awards.
“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is simply opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there,” the How to Get Away With Murder actress said as she received a standing ovation. “So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people — people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black.”