Viola Davis Attacked Over Emmys Speech by Soap Actress Nancy Lee Grahn Who Then Apologized After Backlash

by Alex Ungerman 12:58 PM PDT, September 21, 2015
Playing Viola Davis Attacked Over Emmys Speech by Soap Actress Nancy Lee Grahn Who Then Apologized After Backlash

It seems not everyone was a fan of Viola Davis' moving Emmy acceptance speech.

General Hospital actress Nancy Lee Grahn seemed to express dissatisfaction with the How to Get Away With Murder star calling for more diversity in Hollywood on Sunday night.

WATCH: Viola Davis on Historic Emmy Win: 'Tomorrow I Go Back to Work'

Photo: Getty Images

On Twitter, Grahn wrote, "I wish I loved #ViolaDavis Speech, but I thought she should have let @shondarhimes write it. #Emmys."

In a followup reply to someone who noted that Shonda Rhimes tweeted out about loving Davis' speech, Grahn wrote, "I think she's the bees knees but she's elite of TV performers. Brilliant as she is. She has never been discriminated against."

WATCH: Viola Davis Makes History as First Black Woman to Win Outstanding Lead Actress Award at 2015 Emmys

Suggesting that Davis, as a black woman in Hollywood, hasn't faced discrimination merely because of what she accomplished was met with a ton of backlash from the Emmy winner's supporters. And, though her initial tweets still remain, Grahn continued to backpedal and apologize for her remarks. In one tweet, Grahn suggested that actors are irrelevant to fixing true racial injustice, writing, "Viola Davis winning lead actress Emmy's historic. My upset is acting awards dont fix racial injustice. As an actor I see how irrelevant we are."

"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," the soap opera actress continued.

WATCH: Viola Davis Says 'I Deserve to Be' at Emmys

After that, Grahn posted several apology tweets, including, "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."

NEWS: Complete List of 2015 Emmy Winners

However, as the night drew on, Grahn took a slightly more antagonistic line against the backlash, writing, "3am.Tried 2 respond 2 u with love as I should, Gotten mostly condescension & vitriol.Tomorrow, new day. Wont begin it with anything but love."

Finally, on Monday morning, Grahn wrote, "30 yrs an advocate 4 human rights & now i'm a racist. Color me heartbroken. Twitter can bring out the best & sadly tonight the worst of us."

At the 2015 Emmys on Sunday night, 50-year-old Davis became the first black woman ever to win an Outstanding Lead Actress Emmy. In an inspiring, emotional acceptance speech, she said, "'In my mind, I see a line,'" quoting Harriet Tubman. "'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.'"

"Let me tell you something," the actress continued, "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."

MORE: 14 Times Viola Was a Total Badass on How to Get Away With Murder

Davis also mentioned Empire's Taraji P. Henson, who stayed standing and clapping throughout Davis' speech, and Scandal's Kerry Washington, who was visibly teared up, and thanked them along with fellow actresses Halle Berry, Nicole Beharie, Meagan Good and Gabrielle Union for "taking us over that line."

After the show, Davis told ET, "Tomorrow I go back to work."

"That's how I digest it," she said. "'Cause I can press the fast-forward button and I know that I'm gonna have to continue to be an actor, continue to make choices, continue to perform in a show every week."

WATCH: How to Get Away With Murder Is About to Get Even Juicier

"We put our work out there as women of color constantly, for so many years. It's our time," Davis continued.

You are brilliant, perfect, and amazing, Viola. Celebrate this!