It's a shame that a soap opera veteran like Nancy Lee Grahn took the low road when Viola Davis made history by becoming the first black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Grahn, who was relatively unknown outside of the soap-opera-fan world, shaded Davis' win in a Twitter tirade about Davis' acceptance speech.
During her speech, Davis evoked Harriet Tubman and marveled at her fellow black actresses in Hollywood. "The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there," Davis stated. "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."
But Grahn got in her feelings and tweeted commentary, which ultimately led to backlash. "I wish I loved #ViolaDavis Speech," wrote Grahn, 57, who's best-known for her portrayal of Alexis Davis on General Hospital. "But I thought she should have let @shondarhimes write it."
She also tweeted about how Davis couldn't possibly have faced discrimination in Hollywood.
"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."
In typical foot-in-mouth fashion, Grahn tweeted an apology as if her job depended on it. Which it probably did:
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.
So what did the illustrious Davis think about the criticism she received from people like Grahn?
In an recent interview with the New York Times, Davis explained exactly why she had mentioned Tubman during her speech. It all had to do with a Tubman movie she's working on with her husband that HBO recently picked up.
"I just felt it was apropos, seeing that no woman of color has ever won in that category. That moment had to be acknowledged, or else it would be a missed opportunity. It would be one of those moments I would look back on, and I would have regretted it," Davis stated.
In the world of not sweating the small stuff, it seems that Davis isn't giving Grahn the time of day.
"If there has been any backlash, it's that all people want to feel included in a speech. I know there has been some backlash with an actress who didn't feel she was included," Davis stated.
And when asked if she was speaking about Grahn's tacky tweets, Davis, as classy as ever, simply replied, "Yes. I don't know that I want to say more about that."
Maybe Grahn should see Davis' reply as a life lesson that she should have learned in kindergarten. If you have nothing good to say, it's sometimes better not to say anything at all.