Viola Davis took home her first Emmy on Sunday night AND made history as the first African-American in 67 years to win for Best Leading Actress in a Drama Series. But there was one person who clearly had a problem with Davis’ historical moment, Nancy Lee Grahn.
Following the How To Get Away With Murder star’s major victory, the General Hospital actress tweeted:
“I wish I loved #ViolaDavis Speech,” the 57-year-old wrote. “But I thought she should have let @shondarhimes write it.”
She also wrote to a fan: “I think she’s the bees knees but she’s elite of TV performers. Brilliant as she is. She has never been discriminated against.”
Grahn’s comment was perceived as incredibly insensitive, offensive and horrifically inappropriate considering the major moment this was for the Black community. Davis has always been outspoken about her struggle as a Black actress and finally, after breaking barriers, she gets slapped with this comment.
After being berated on social media, Nancy issued an apology via Twitter:
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
In another apology, she wrote: “I apologize for my earlier tweets and now realize I need to check my own privilege. 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.”
In case you missed it, Viola’s acceptance speech was moving, emotional, epic and the beauty managed toe tart off with a quote from Harriet Tubman. “In my mind, there’s a line and over that line I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful White women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line. That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s.”
Viola went on to thank “the Taraji P. Henson’s, the Kerry Washington’s, the Halle Berry’s, the Nicole Beharie’s, the Meagan Good’s, to Gabrielle Union, thank you for taking us over that line.”