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Tyler Perry’s Film ‘Temptation’ Under Fire by HIV Support Group, AT2W’s Take

tyler perry temptation

Tyler Perry’s Film ‘Temptation’ Under Fire by HIV Support Group, AT2W’s Take

One group states that filmmaker Tyler Perry’s recent movie Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor shows people with HIV as doomed, lonely and unlovable. The Positive Women’s Network of the United States of America  says the main character named Judith was portrayed as a woman who contracted HIV from an extramarital affair. The group states Tyler Perry exploits HIV victims in the worse way:

Here’s what the open letter says to Tyler Perry about his film Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor:


Dear Mr. Perry,

We write as people living with HIV and their allies to express our deep disappointment with your latest film, Temptation. This disappointment is made all the greater because you have done much that can be applauded. Audiences see your plays and films not simply as entertainment, but as opportunities for inspiration, spiritual healing, and unity.

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 Myths and outdated perceptions about how HIV is transmitted and the implications of an HIV diagnosis have resulted in discriminatory treatment towards, and violence against,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.

AT2W’s Take: As we think back about the movie when we saw it, we did feel despair from the moment in the film as her life was doomed because she looked old, sick and in despair. We were left feeling bad for the character. We will admit that we did feel the main character was punished for her behavior and not being faithful to her husband, but in reality HIV may not be the punishment but the sin of sexual immorality may have been. This coincides with any sin per say.

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?

AT2W’s Take: We say that even though the film did portray the repercussions of sexual immorality on the woman’s part, it could be a man’s story as well. What we received from the film was more on the fact the grass is not greener on the other side. We saw this woman in the movie as lonely and dissatisfied with her marriage because it lacked the spark it once had. She reluctantly accepted the juices of forbidden fruit and paid dearly for it. The movie, in our opinion, showed the true reality of what people never, ever want to talk about. We are not saying the group doesn’t have some valid points but we can see people taking the message from the film in many different aspects. Without any doubt, it was a thought provoking film and probably the best he has made.

What do you have to say about this?