Viola Davis says critics “serve no purpose” following negative ‘The First Lady’ reviews

"It gives them an opportunity to be cruel to you"

Viola Davis has said she believes critics “absolutely serve no purpose”.

The actor hit out at film and TV criticism after receiving negative reviews for her portrayal of Michelle Obama in Showtime series The First Lady.

Davis called the reception to the series “incredibly hurtful” after the Washington Post’s Inkoo Kang criticised “Emmy-baiting performances” from Davis as well as Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson.

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“Critics absolutely serve no purpose,” Davis said in an interview with the BBC. “And I’m not saying that to be nasty, either. They always feel like they’re telling you something that you don’t know.

“Somehow that you’re living a life that you’re surrounded by people who lie to you and ‘I’m going to be the person that leans in and tells you the truth’. So it gives them an opportunity to be cruel to you.”

Take a look at Davis in The First Lady here:

“How do you move on from the hurt, from failure?” Davis added of bad reviews. “But you have to. Not everything is going to be an awards-worthy performance.

“Ultimately I feel like it is my job as a leader to make bold choices. Win or fail, it is my duty to do that.”

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Last year, Viola Davis had said she thinks Black actors are often treated like “leftovers” in Hollywood.

“It’s so hard to get films made that don’t fit a certain box of how they see us,” Davis said on Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast.

“Inclusivity cannot be a hashtag. You’ve got to write roles for people of colour that are culturally specific – that is just as thought out as our white counterparts’ roles, to get to the point of excellence, so that we can be considered for awards.

“But a lot of time with inclusivity, it’s a second thought. We’re the leftovers.”

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