Viola Davis attends the West Coast Premiere of their produced play Paradise

Viola Davis Responds To Criticism Of 'The First Lady' Performance, Calls It 'Occupational Hazard'

Home / Stars / Viola Davis Responds To Criticism Of 'The First Lady' Performance, Calls It 'Occupational Hazard'

By Afouda Bamidele on April 26, 2022 at 3:45 PM EDT

Internet trolls, beware! Viola Davis is not afraid to clap back at rude comments!

The renowned actress, who has received several accolades for her remarkable portrayal of passionate characters in various movies, recently slammed her critics.

The 56-year-old became the center of mean comments following her performance as the former USA First Lady Michelle Obama in Showtime's "The First Lady."

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Viola Davis Slams Critics Says They 'Serve No Purpose'

Viola Davis at The BAFTA Film Awards 2019

During an emotional interview with BBC News, the Oscar-winning actress addressed the criticisms surrounding her performance in "The First Lady," which some viewers found off-putting because of Davis's facial expressions.

The South Carolina native was accused of excessively pursing her lips, which critics compared to "duckface," a term used to depict the exaggerated pouting expression frequently used by media personalities.

Because the audience found this action distasteful, they "mercilessly ridiculed" the two-time Tony Award winner on social media platforms like Twitter.

Speaking about the viral affair, the "How To Get Away With Murder" star confessed that it was "incredibly hurtful" when people bashed her work.

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However, the Hollywood veteran understood that negative comments came with the job, describing "criticisms" as an "occupational hazard" that entertainers had to accept regardless of the pain. In her words:

"How do you move on from the hurt, from failure? But you have to. Not everything is going to be an awards-worthy performance."

Criticisms may go hand in hand with acting, but that did not mean the Hollywood Walk of Fame inductee had to take painful hits without repercussions.

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The "Widows" star clapped back at trolls by highlighting their toxic traits, which the mother-of-one stated came from a know-it-all attitude.

"Critics absolutely serve no purpose," she said, "and I'm not saying that to be nasty, either. They always feel like they're telling you something that you don't know."

The "Lila & Eve" actress explained that trolls believed celebrities were surrounded by liars and considered themselves the ones responsible for telling their idols the truth. In her words:

"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."

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Regardless of negative responses, Davis remained focused on her priorities. "Ultimately, I feel like it is my job as a leader to make bold choices," she said, "win or fail, it is my duty to do that."

As for her portrayal of the former White House resident, the Primetime Emmy Award winner noted that playing the role of a widely-recognized figure was "almost possible."

"Either you're doing too much or not enough," the actress stated, adding that she had no personal contact with the woman in question.

Aside from "The First Lady" drama, the Golden Globe Award winner also discussed her new memoir, "Finding Me," which captured the author's rise from an abusive childhood to fame.

The Four-Time Screen Actors Guild Award Winner Got Candid About Her Dark Past

Viola Davis joins L Oreal Paris as newest spokeswoman

The Blast previously revealed that the "Custody" actress opened up about her traumatic past as a Black child, including the violence she endured while growing up.

The Hollywood star was bullied by boys who chased and verbally abused her using malicious racial slurs at a young age.

Recalling the dreadful events, "The Help" star confessed that each day felt like hell, trying to avoid her constant bullies. She said:

"It was day after day. That’s what it felt like. Was I actually running for my life? Would they actually have killed me? I don’t know about that, but that’s what it felt like."

Alas, the Triple Crown of Acting title-holder's situation was no better at home because her father was also an abusive man.

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The South Carolina native stated that watching her father be violent towards her mother reminded the "Fences" actress of the horrifying moments she experienced at night on the streets.

As for how she coped with the traumatic events, Davis revealed that she developed a technique that allowed her to enjoy an out-of-body experience.

As a young girl, the Oscar winner would sit on the toilet and allow her mind to wander off into space, leaving behind her troubled life.

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