Tyler Perry Oscars Speech Says Not to Hate Police Officers, Audience Stops Clapping

The Oscars audience stopped clapping after filmmaker Tyler Perry urged Americans not to hate police officers during his inspirational speech.

Perry, 51, told the audience to "refuse hate" as he accepted the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 93rd Academy Awards on Sunday.

In his speech, Perry recalled his homeless past, his mother's experience growing up in the Jim Crow South and how she taught him "to refuse blanket judgment."

He later continued: "I refuse to hate someone because they're Mexican or because they are black or white, or LGBTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they're a police officer or because they're Asian. I would hope we would refuse hate."

But, after the actor-filmmaker mentioned the police the rapturous applause that had begun as Perry spoke about refusing to hate faded away into silence.

Tyler continued his speech and called on people to come together and put their differences aside.

He added: "I want to take this Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and dedicate it to anyone who wants to stand in the middle, no matter what's around the walls, to stand in the middle, because that is where healing happens."

Perry's speech raised eyebrows with many on social media after he mentioned not hating police officers alongside the other groups.

Police officers are not an oppressed group. No one “hates” the police because of undue prejudice. It’s because they engage in state-sanctioned violence against all of the groups Tyler Perry said we shouldn’t hate! #Oscars

— Kathleen Newman-Bremang (@KathleenNB) April 26, 2021

Kathleen Newman-Bremang, senior editor at Refinery29, an entertainment website focused on women, criticized Perry's speech for mentioning police officers between Americans who had faced discrimination.

She tweeted: "Police officers are not an oppressed group. No one 'hates' the police because of undue prejudice. It's because they engage in state-sanctioned violence against all of the groups Tyler Perry said we shouldn't hate."

Another user uploaded a picture of the video game character Vault Boy with the words "hold up" alongside a tweet, which read: "Tyler Perry slipping in 'police officer' between LGBTQ and Asian."

Tyler Perry slipping in "police officer" between LGBTQ and Asian pic.twitter.com/n0CUoDKbFb

— Tim Hagler (Taylor's Version) (@TchaglerTimothy) April 26, 2021

Kevin Gosztola, the managing editor of Shadowproof, a press organization that aims to [expos[e] abuses of power in government and business, said: "Tyler Perry is here to tell the Oscars that police are a race or ethnicity who do not deserve your hate."

There were many, however, who were receptive to Perry's speech and went on to praise the star.

Tyler Perry is here to tell the Oscars that police are a race or ethnicity who do not deserve your hate.

— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) April 26, 2021

NBC anchor Maria Shriver tweeted: "Excellent speech by @tylerperry. 'Meet me in the middle...Refuse hate...Refuse judgment.'"

The View co-host Meghan McCain added: "Tyler Perry is one of the greatest living Americans, period. I am so moved by his beautiful acceptance speech. I know personally this man's kindness, empathy and respect - he is a truly genuine human being. We should all join him in meeting in the middle and refusing hate…"

Perry's speech was not the only point of contention surrounding the Oscars, with fans earlier this year decrying the Academy's decision to snub Delroy Lindo for his role in Spike Lee's "Da 5 Bloods."

Chinese social media users found their messages congratulating Beijing-born Chloé Zhao and her multiple-award-winning film "Nomadland" were being deleted on Weibo, the country's equivalent to Twitter.

Zhao, who was educated in the U.K. and U.S. made seemingly critical comments about China, which caused several of the country's social media users to turn on her.

Tyler Perry delivered an inspirational speech
In this handout photo provided by A.M.P.A.S., honoree Tyler Perry attends the 93rd Annual Academy Awards at Union Station on April 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Tyler Perry delivered an inspirational speech where he urged others to "refuse to hate." Handout / Handout/Getty