Nancy Lee Grahn “Heartbroken” After Backlash From Viola Davis Emmys Speech Tweets: “I’ve Been Schooled”

Nancy Lee Grahn
After her tweets about Viola Davis' Emmys 2015 speech went viral, soap star Nancy Lee Grahn wrote that she was "heartbroken" that people saw her as a racist: "I've been schooled." Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic


Sorry about that. After her tweets about Viola Davis‘ Emmys 2015 speech went viral, soap star Nancy Lee Grahn tweeted on Monday, Sept. 21, that she was “heartbroken” that people saw her as a racist.

Even after her emotional apology about her hate-tweets during Davis’ Emmys speech, the General Hospital actress, 57, continued to receive backlash from critics into Monday evening.

Indeed, Grahn engaged in conversation with her admirers and critics alike on Monday night, including CBS News Sunday Morning contributor Nancy Giles, who explained the scenario in detail.

“@NancyLeeGrahn Seeing Viola, an Oscar nominee, with Emmy in hand could make it difficult to see her/the struggle but believe [it]… her chances 2 play wide variety of roles has been limited,” Giles tweeted. “She’s 1st black woman to win this award!Speaks volumes. Finally in 2015 more visibility & range of characters. Still only 1 woman of color won lead actress Oscar. Our stories [are] not told! Just starting to happen.Some similarities w women over 40. Art should reflect the rich diversity of cultures . That’s my 2 cents. Twitter can be vicious but don’t stop the conversation. Always enjoyed yr work esp on Santa Barbara.”

A floored and humbled Grahn replied:

viola davis
Actress Viola Davis poses in the press room at the 67th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Grahn sparked controversy on Sunday during the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards when she ripped Davis’ historic wining moment. Davis, 50, became the first black woman ever to win the Emmy for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series. “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is simply opportunity,” she said. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

After Davis’ emotional speech, an unsatisfied Grahn took to her verified Twitter account and railed against the How to Get Away With Murder star. “Im a f–king actress for 40 yrs. None of us get respect or opportunity we deserve,” she tweeted at the time. “Emmys not venue 4 racial opportunity. ALL women belittled.”

Soon after her tweets were picked up, Grahn issued an apology. “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.”

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