Tyler Perry added his weight behind the donations being sent to aid those affected by Hurricane Harvey, pledging $1 million to relief efforts in an announcement posted on Facebook on Thursday. But Perry will be breaking that money up, sending $250,000 to Beyonce’s Houston pastor Rudy Rasmus, $500,000 to undisclosed charities, and another $250,000 to the Lakewood Church — the megachurch at the center of the controversy with televangelist Joel Osteen.
Perry and Osteen are friends according to Page Six and the Madea creator defended his decision on Facebook, pointing out that he spoke to Osteen about the controversy after it exploded earlier in the week:
“I know that there’s been some controversy about Joel Osteen and him not opening doors of the church. Let me tell you something: Joel and Victoria are amazing people. There is 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 so before you just run and judge somebody really quick, you need to know the whole circumstances…
This million dollars, I’m breaking it up into quarters. I’m sending $250,000 to Lakewood to make sure that they can get all the supplies that people need. I know that they will, I know for sure that they will, because that’s the kind of person he is.”
Osteen faced heavy criticism after an alleged decision to shut the doors of Lakewood Church from those seeking shelter from Harvey. The televangelist denied these accusations, saying the doors to the church were never locked and flooding had been the reason for any delaying in offering help to those in need. He also claimed the city of Houston never asked the 16,800 seat church to be used as a shelter, claiming they asked it to be used for distribution instead.
Perry is one of the few to come to the defense of the televangelist in the wake of the controversy.
Perry’s video also addressed concerns with donations going to victims of the hurricane, with the LA Times reporting that the director was unhappy with how funds were handled following Hurricane Katrina in 2005:
“I’m trying to figure out how to help, but I’ve given millions of dollars to charities in the past that never got to the people it was meant for…
“I was looking for people who were boots on the ground, who could help immediately, people that I trust, people that I know are going to do the right thing.”
Aside from his donation, Perry addressed the response he saw in Houston and other affected areas in contrast to the horrible scene in Charlottesville in recent weeks. He called “the humanity, the caring for everybody” something to be proud of in the face of hate and violence. You can see the full statement below.