Tyler Perry Criticized for HIV Message in Temptation

Critics blast Perry's "insulting" morality tale.

Posted: 04/05/2013 11:15 AM EDT
Tyler Perry

Mainstream critics have always been fairly harsh on Tyler Perry's films, but none have been attacked quite as venomously as Tyler Perry's Temptation

The morality tale, about a good Christian woman (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) who strays from her simple-minded husband to be with a "devil"-like Lothario and contracts HIV as a tragic result, is recieving the usual negative attention for its directing, acting and dialogue, but some critics and bloggers are going so far as calling Perry "reprehensible" for implying that the disease is a necessary consequence of infidelity. 

"Perry has done a lot for the visibility of Black voices in popular culture," admits Jezebel, but it is "amazed at how efficiently Perry was able to roll back discourse, human rights, the basics of consent, and storytelling itself in just one sh---y movie." The site adds, "the world should demand better than Tyler Perry."

The Grio calls the film "entirely too insulting," adding that Perry "vilifies and punishes women with any speck of ambition, education or sexual desire."

"In Tyler Perry’s world, people living with HIV are doomed to live a life of lovelessness and solitude," the review continues.

Buzzfeed rants, "whether or not one condones cheating on a spouse, the implication that a person deserves HIV is horrifying," while Mike Ryan of The Huffington Post writes, "either Perry believes that if you cheat on your partner, you deserve a terrible disease or he believes that the people he hopes will pay money to see Tyler Perry's Temptation believe that if you cheat on your spouse, you deserve a terrible disease." He concludes, "I can't decide which is worse."

The controversy over Temptation doesn't seem to have hurt its box office, but Perry did succeed in getting people to talk about something other than Kim Kardashian's performance. 

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