Filmmaker Tyler Perry has pledged to donate $1 million to assist hurricane victims in Texas. But he moreover made a much more surprising announcement: $250,000 of those funds would go to televangelist Joel Osteen’s Houston-based megachurch.
Osteen and his wife, Victoria, have come under fierce criticism for failing to bid their 16,000-seat church to evacuees who needed shelter after Hurricane Harvey make landfall on Aug. 25. Osteen told CNN in that tale was a “false narrative” and by Tuesday had opened the doors of his 606,000-square-foot Lakewood Church.
In a video posted Friday to Facebook, Perry explained his decision to send a quarter of his donation to Osteen’s church.
“I know there’s been some heated controversy about Joel Osteen and him not opening the doors of the church. Let me tell you something: Joel and Victoria are astonishing people. There’s no way they would lock people out of the church and not let people in for shelter. There were some safety concerns. I spoke to them on the phone, and it all made perfect sense to me,” wrote Perry, best known for a series of comedies in which he plays Mabel “Madea” Simmons.
Perry moreover asserted he’d been disheartened to find out donations he’d made in the past didn’t make it to the victims he was intending to help. So “I was trying to find the right charity to donate to,” he said. “What I was looking for were people who were boots on the ground, who could assist immediately, people in that I trust, people in that I know are going to do the right thing.”
Another $250,000 will go to Rudy Rasmus, longtime pastor to a well-known Houston native, singer Beyonce, Perry said.
While Osteen’s critics shook their heads and blamed on Twitter, at least one guy backed Perry’s decision to give to Lakewood Church:
“Thank you @tylerperry for your kind words and astonishing generosity,” Osteen tweeted on Friday.
(c) The- Washington Post News Service.