Tyler Perry pushed back against other celebrities at the Oscars on Sunday night, denouncing hate in all forms and putting an emphasis on the suggestion that police officers are not the enemy.
Perry—while accepting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award—shared: “In this time, with all of the internet and social media and algorithms and everything that wants us to think a certain way, the 24-hour news cycle … it is my hope that all of us would teach our kids, and I want to remember: just refuse hate. Don’t hate anybody.”
“I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican or because they are black or white or LBGTQ,” the producer said. “I refuse to hate someone because they are a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian.”
During his acceptance speech, Perry recalled a story of a homeless woman he once helped who asked him for shoes. After he took her into his studio and gave her shoes, the woman said: “Thank you, Jesus, my feet are off the ground.”
Perry, who is typically liberal in his politics, turned heads in July when he rejected calls to “defund the police” by Black Lives Matter activists.
“So, when they saw George Floyd’s death, this horrific, horrible death played out, as this man pleaded for his life and begged, said ‘please’ many, many times, it — seeing it changes everything,” Perry said. “So I became very, very optimistic when everybody galvanized together because I know that’s when change comes. When people galvanize and come together as one, that’s when change happens.”
“But lately, I’ve been very, very concerned that the message is being hijacked by some other groups or political ads and parties that are trying to stop the message of what we’re asking for here [is] police reform, right?” the actor continued. “So, yeah, I was, but I’m worried now because of what I’m seeing.”
More recently, Perry called on the Department of Justice to investigate Georgia for its voter integrity laws, suggesting without evidence that they are akin to Jim Crow laws.
In a statement made to Fox News, Perry, who runs a television and movie studio in Atlanta, decried the election integrity law as a “voter suppression law,” declaring that it was unconstitutional.
“As a Georgia resident and business owner I’ve been here a few times with the anti-abortion bill and the LGBTQ discrimination bill,” Perry said. “They all sent a shockwave through Georgia and the nation, but none of them managed to succeed.”
Perry said that the new law was analogous to the “Jim Crow era,” though he cautioned others against boycotting the state, noting the blue outcome.
“I’m resting my hope in the DOJ taking a hard look at this unconstitutional voter suppression law that harkens to the Jim Crow era,” he continued. “As some consider boycotting, please remember that we did turn Georgia blue and there is a gubernatorial race on the horizon — that’s the beauty of a democracy.”
ABC News tweeted: “‘Refuse hate.’ Tyler Perry accepts Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award ‘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.'”