‘Hidden Figures’ Soundtrack’s Kim Burrell Booted From ‘Ellen’ After Anti-Gay Sermon Surfaces
Grammy-nominated gospel singer Kim Burrell’s scheduled appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” was cancelled Tuesday after a video of her delivering a sermon in which she called gays and lesbians “perverted” went viral.
As rumours swirled earlier in the day, Ellen DeGeneres took to Twitter to clarify: “For those asking, Kim Burrell will not be appearing on my show.”
For those asking, Kim Burrell will not be appearing on my show.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 3, 2017
“That perverted homosexual spirit is a spirit of delusion and confusion and has deceived many men and women, and it’s caused a strain on the body of Christ,” Burrell, a pastor at Love and Liberty Fellowship Church, in Houston, Texas, said in the sermon, which surfaced on YouTube Friday. “You as a man, you open your mouth and take a man’s penis in your face, you are perverted … You are a woman and will shake your face in another woman’s breast, you are perverted.”
Burrell had been scheduled to sing a duet on “Ellen” with rapper and record producer Pharrell Williams, with whom she recorded a song for the soundtrack of “Hidden Figures” — the new movie about a black woman’s role in the early days of the U.S. space program.
Kim Burrell performs on NBC’s “Today” show at Rockefeller Plaza on Dec. 9 in New York. Charles Sykes / Invision/AP
Williams on Saturday issued a condemnation of hate speech but did not specifically name Burrell.
“I condemn hate speech of any kind,” he said in a statement posted to Instagram. “There is no room in this world for any kind of prejudice.”
Burrell took to Facebook Live to defend herself Saturday and said that while she offered “no excuses or apologies,” she did not intend to target anyone individually, also taking issue with the posted excerpt of her sermon.
“What was posted was not all I preached, too, but only that, isn’t that something? That is designed to make it look like I have a personal agenda against people,” She said. “It’s a heartbreak, but it’s the world we live in.”
Other celebrities joined in censuring the sermon. “Hidden Figures” star Janelle Monáe issued a lengthy statement on Instagram.
“My advice: If your religion is causing you to spew out words of hate, judge, or look down on others because of who one loves then you need to change it,” the singer wrote.
Octavia Spencer, another “Hidden Figures” star, tweeted that “hatred isn’t the answer.”
I agree. We are all God’s children equal in his eyes. Hatred isn’t the answer. Intolerance isn’t… https://t.co/vztGSNkEMF
— octavia spencer (@octaviaspencer) December 31, 2016
For her part, Burrell maintained in a second Facebook Live broadcast that she was not targeting gay and lesbian individuals.
“Have i ever discriminated against them? Have I ever outright told them ‘I don’t love you and you going to hell?’ Why would I?” she asked. “Who gives me the right to say that I’m telling someone that they’re going to hell? I don’t get that call?”