Joel Osteen came under major fire this week after failing to open his Houston megachurch to evacuees in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and social media wasted no time in dragging the pastor for his seeming inaction.
One person who doesn't seem to be knocking Osteen is filmmaker Tyler Perry, who announced on Friday that he would be donating $1 million to Houston relief efforts, with a quarter of that amount going to Osteen's Lakewood Church. Perry shared that another $250,000 will go to Beyoncé's pastor, while he has not decided where to send the remaining money.
Naturally, social media had thoughts about the situation, with many criticizing Perry for his choice.
"I was trying to find the right charity to donate to because in the past, I have given millions and millions of dollars to charities and was just really disheartened to find out the money I had given didn't actually get to the people," Perry said in the Facebook video. "I know there's been controversy about Joel Osteen and him not opening the doors of the church. Joel and Victoria are amazing people, there's no way they would leave people out of the church or not let people seek shelter."
"There were some safety concerns, and I spoke to them on the phone and it all make perfect sense to me," he added. "So, before you just run and judge someone real quick, you need to know the whole circumstances."prevnext
Fans immediately took to the comments to criticize Perry for his decision to give to Osteen's church.
"Don't give to Joel Osteen...give to the Texas bed furniture guy who really opened both his stores to really help people," one person wrote, referencing Mattress Mack, a Houston furniture store that opened its doors to evacuees. "That is where your money should go to. Mr. Perry you have been let down once before don't make the same mistake with the wolf in sheep's clothing aka Joel Osteen."
Another chimed in, "Tyler, I sure wish you would donate money NOT through Osteen. Osteen has millions of his own and as a man of God, he should donate out if HIS own pocket. He can definitely afford it And he only opened the doors due to public pressure. As a supposed man of God, his heart should have led him to this, spontaneously."
Osteen did have his fair share of supporters.
"Maybe people will listen to you about a man who didn't have to open his doors. Who knows if the church was down? Who knows what the actual conditions were? He opened them which is important to those who needed it," one person wrote.prevnext
Lakewood's lack of action
Osteen and his church faced a torrent of criticism this week after initially not opening their doors to evacuees seeking shelter, as Lakewood has a capacity of nearly 17,000 people. The church wrote on Facebook that it was inaccessible due to flooding, although Osteen later said that the church had not opened its doors because the city had not asked it to.
On Tuesday, the church began serving as a distribution center after coordinating with the city and began housing evacuees.
"If people were here, they'd realize there were safety issues," Osteen told Today on Tuesday. "We were just being precautious, but the main thing is the city didn't ask us to become a shelter then."prevnext
Osteen gets slammed0comments
Twitter users were quick to slam Osteen for opening the church's doors after receiving backlash despite saying that Lakewood was inaccessible.
The problem for Joel Osteen is that his first instinct was to wonder if he should open the doors. Not how fast he could get them open.— James B McGarvey III (@jamesmcgarvey3) September 1, 2017
The man said the church was flooded and it wasn't??? And he didn't let people in until everyone noticed???— BLANK$AINT?マインド?? (@gushyfish) August 31, 2017
Proverb for @JoelOsteen: If people have to ask you to help them, you never really wanted to help them in the first place.— Kenny BooYah! (@KwikWarren) August 30, 2017
Charity and human decency isn't waiting to be asked. It's seeing someone in trouble & offering. Missed opportunity to make the world better— ExBFF (@exBFF) August 30, 2017
Getty / Taylor Hillprev