Now, opponents of Perry have formed a Change.org petition calling on the talk show icon to dump the media mogul, calling his work “‘malt liquor’ for the community!”
“For decades Oprah Winfrey has used her television show to educate, empower, and uplift people of all races to be better versions of themselves. OWN has committed to be an extension of this work,” the petition reads.
Perry’s nighttime soap opera The Haves and The Have Nots, (which some have called a Dynasty rip-off), debuted this week earning 1.77 million viewers in its first hour and the second drawing 1.8 million viewers — the highest-rated debut in OWN network history. His comedy show Love Thy Neighbor followed with the second highest debut in the channel’s history, with 1.8 million viewers of its own.
Still, despite the indisputable ratings success, Perry’s content continues to be criticized heavily as sexist, elitist and racially insensitive.
“Where it is clear that neither Oprah [n]or Tyler Perry are not [sic] experts on race and racism, they have also refused to utilize feedback from the conscious black community and scholars on racism regarding the damage that Tyler Perry and his brand of entertainment perpetuate against the black community,” adds the petition.
While Perry and Winfrey have been longtime friends and collaborators in the past (they co-produced the Academy-Award-nominated film Precious), some of Winfrey’s fans have long been uneasy about her decision to embrace such a polarizing filmmaker.
In attempt to perhaps defuse this tension, Winfrey and Perry appeared in a satirical clip earlier this year to promote their partnership as two of their most iconic characters: Sofia from The Color Purple and Madea.
So far the response the petition has been tepid; fewer than 100 people have signed it.
View the petition below: