The HIV Community Slams Tyler Perry for ‘Temptation,’ Demands Meeting

Photo Credit: @tylerperry Twitter
Photo Credit: @tylerperry Twitter

By: Amanda Anderson-Niles

Tyler Perry hasn’t had the best few weeks. Not only did the filmmaker recently get slapped with a lawsuit accusing him of stealing the storyline to his “Temptation” film, but the latest movie he produced, “Peeples,” flopped hard at the box office. It now appears that Perry has another problem on his hands and this new issue is also a result of his “Temptation” movie. Turns out the movie offended a lot of people in the HIV community. Those upset with the film feel as if the ending was making the assumption that catching HIV is some sort of punishment and to be diagnosed with the STD endures one will live a lonely and sad life. The Positive Women’s Network of the United States of America penned a letter  and created a petition slamming him for coming up with a plot they feel is offensive to those living with HIV and they demand a meeting with him immediately. The organization writes:

As you may be aware, one of the greatest barriers to addressing the HIV epidemic is the high level of stigma and misinformation attached to this simple virus. Stigma prevents people from getting tested for HIV, from protecting themselves during sex, from accessing care when they test positive, and from disclosing their HIV status to family, friends, and sexual partners. Myths and outdated perceptions about how HIV is transmitted and the implications of an HIV diagnosis have resulted in discriminatory treatment towards, and violence against, people living with HIV.

Unfortunately, Temptation can only serve to perpetuate stigma. Your film depicts people with HIV as untouchable and unlovable, doomed to a lifetime of loneliness, and unable to tell their own stories. It implies that men with HIV are sexually irresponsible and predatory. And the final image — that of a woman who has been infected with HIV due to an extramarital affair walking away alone and unhealthy — sends the message that HIV is a punishment for immoral behavior.

Mr. Perry, as a leader in the African-American community, is this really the message you want to send in 2013, over three decades into this epidemic? Your impact on beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors in the community is not insignificant. And if you portray people with HIV as sinful, secretive monsters, unworthy of love and incapable of reproduction, what incentive do people have to learn their HIV status or for people with HIV to disclose their status?

HIV is not something that “guilty” people get. It is not a punishment for cheating, lying, using drugs or alcohol, having more than one partner, or not asking the right questions. It is a virus whose transmission is fueled by poverty, ignorance, racism, sexism, homophobia, fear, violence, and many other factors – not by people with HIV. In fact, studies show that the overwhelming majority of people with HIV fiercely protect their partners once they know their HIV status. Many of us are in long-term relationships with HIV-negative partners. And yes, we even have children!

We call on you to undo the damage that your film has undoubtedly already caused.


The organization goes on to request that Tyler meets with them and talks to actual people living with the STD. It was also clear in the rest of the letter that they are also seeking an apology. No word yet from Tyler’s camp.


  1. If Tyler isn’t going to address his sexual orientation publicly he ain’t talkin about HIV/AIDS either.

  2. I didn’t like how the movie made it seem like the wife was the only person who did something wrong in the marriage. It was biased and sexist to me.

  3. Speaking on this subject and apologizing will slap his cash cow of an audience in their face — hypocritical, bible-thumpin black women.

  4. He makes movies for Church folk. Most of them do believe HIV is punishment of some sort…and I’ll leave it at that. I don’t feel like offending anyone today.

  5. Tyler Perry usually makes movies that fault the black man, but the one time he makes one to fault the black woman, everyone has a problem. LOL.

    1. Well the movie is about a married woman, who cheats on her husband because she’s not happy in their marriage. The man she cheats with ends up giving her HIV and her husband leaves her at the end of the movie and remarries. She ends up with HIV and all alone. It sucked.

  6. I’m so glad I didn’t see this movie. But Peeples was good. Maybe that’s because he didn’t write it…LOL. Am I the only one at work counting down to the Holiday? I’m ready to take my a-s home.

    1. Nope. I have 20 more minutes. My stuff has been packed up for the last hour. This is why I wish I would have picked a career loved. 🙁

  7. I love you tyler perry and your movies always have a lesson behind of which that’s how it should be education is everywhere I want more of them movies and those who feel temptation aint no good movie damn get your mind checked coz u might b missing something upstairs.keep up the good work madea

  8. I don’t think Tyler was trying to offend anyone with this movie. I think he was trying to show people exactly what is says in the Bible, “the wages of sin is death”. The wife’s sin in this movie was adultery and had she not been “tempted” to sin she would not have had to suffer the consequences of that sin. I believe what he is trying to show here is the devil tempts without showing everything that could potentially happen when we disobey God’s commandments. We never know what will happen to us when we sin but HIV just happened to be the results of her sin. Not necessarily a punishment, just what happened. In his movie For Colored Girls, Janet Jackson’s character contracted HIV from her husband who was secretly sleeping with men and once her character discovered it, she became a different person with a heart for giving and developed relationship with the other women around her to move forward with a cause in her heart, so I don’t think he uses the HIV story line in a negative way.

  9. I think that some people are being very melodramatic! People only see what they want to see and the HIV community who is complaining has only seen that perry in the end of the movie portrays a person with HIV living a sad lonely sinful night. Please watch the movie again, that’s not what he was saying! I hate this damn movie cause it was so ridiculous and he usually does good movies but when I seen this it really did baffle me. Apology? Everyone is always looking for a damn apology. What’s an apology going to do? Make you feel better?

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