After Viola Davis made history on Sunday night at the Emmys by becoming the first black woman to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and gave an empowering speech about the lack of opportunities for women of colour, one soap star took to Twitter to criticize.
“General Hospital” actress Nancy Lee Grahn slammed the “How to Get Away With Murder” star after the awards show ended.
“I wish I loved #ViolaDavis Speech, but I thought she should have let [HTGAWM Executive Producer] @shondarhimes write it. #Emmys,” she wrote.
Davis’s stirring speech got a standing ovation from the audience inside the Microsoft Theatre on Sunday.
“‘In my mind I see 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,” Davis told a captivated crowd, adding: “And let me tell you something, the only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people—Ben Sherwood, Paul Lee, Peter Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes—people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading women, to be black. And to the to the Taraji P. Hensons, the Kerry Washingtons, the Halle Berrys, the Nicole Beharies, the Meagan Goods, to Gabrielle Union, thank you for taking us over that line”
Lee Grahn’s now-deleted tweet reads: “Im a f—ing actress for 40 yrs. None of us get respect or opportunity we deserve. Emmys not venue 4 racial opportunity. ALL women belittled.”
Grahn also criticized Davis for quoting Harriet Tubman during her acceptance speech.
After receiving nearly immediate backlash for her ramblings, Grahn sidestepped into attempted apologies.
“I apologize for my earlier tweets and now realize I need to check my own privilege,” Grahn said in an extended tweet. “My intention was not to take this historic and important moment from Viola Davis or other women of color (sic) 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.”