Daniels Responds to Criticism of His ‘Black Women/Welfare Office’ Comment

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*Although recent critics have said that director Lee Daniels doesn’t support African American women, he insists that he developed an intense connection with them while growing up black and gay.

Daniels was visiting with HuffPost Live to talk about his new film “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” when host Marc Lamont Hill brought up the criticism behind recent remarks Daniel made about researching his movie “Precious.”

The remarks were made during an interview on “Larry King Now” when Daniels talked about the time he visited a health crisis center for gay men to learn about AIDS and saw “black women with kids — I thought I had walked into the welfare office.”

The comment wasn’t a direct stab at black women, but rather bringing attention to the fact that as a result of gay black men feeling pressured to stay in the closet, many black women contract AIDS from men who are on the “down-low.”

Daniels was hurt by the criticism of his statement, and said that Black women were a lifeline for him during a difficult childhood.

“I wish I were straight because I love women so much. I love black women. They are the reason that I’m here today, because I rarely was accepted by any African American man growing up, inclusive of my dad,” he said.

The director added that he conveys the many complexities of black women in his work, as he did with the character Oprah Winfrey portrays in “The Butler.”

“I believe strongly that characters are five-dimensional, and they’re complicated, and life is complicated, and people are complicated,” he said. “I like to show the grey area in all my characters. Not just white — black, everybody.”

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