Davis made Emmys history by being the first black woman to win the award for Best Lead Actress in a Drama. In her speech, the How to Get Away with Murder star quoted Harriet Tubman and observed, "The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is simply opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there." She went on to thank Shonda Rhimes and Murder showrunner Peter Nowalk for "redefining what it means to be black."
Davis' remarks were met with enthusiastic applause from the crowd inside the Microsoft Theater, but Grahn slammed them on Twitter.
"Im a f---ing actress for 40 yrs," Grahn wrote. "None of us get respect or opportunity we deserve. Emmys not venue 4 racial opportunity. ALL women belittled."
In response to one user, Grahn tweeted: "I think she's the bees knees but ... she has never been discriminated against."
(Grahn's tweets have since been removed, but not before they were screen-grabbed by BuzzFeed.)
Grahn, who has played Alexis on General Hospital for 20 years, later apologized profusely for her comments.
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 r— Nancy Lee Grahn (@NancyLeeGrahn) September 21, 2015
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.— Nancy Lee Grahn (@NancyLeeGrahn) September 21, 2015
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— Nancy Lee Grahn (@NancyLeeGrahn) September 21, 2015
I apologize for my earlier tweets and now realize I need to check my own privilege. My intention was not to (cont) http://t.co/uyre6WPeeH— Nancy Lee Grahn (@NancyLeeGrahn) September 21, 2015
But nothing ever dies on the Internet, and the damage was already done. Grahn said she's "heartbroken" that people now consider her a racist.
I've taking a whoopin 2night and as u can see will rightfully stay up all night to talk to you.— Nancy Lee Grahn (@NancyLeeGrahn) September 21, 2015
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.— Nancy Lee Grahn (@NancyLeeGrahn) September 21, 2015
What do you think of Grahn's tweets?