Melissa McCarthy (“Gilmore Girls,” “Spy,” “Bridesmaids”) took to Instagram last week to apologize for a major miscalculation. In the video posted Thursday night, the actress issued an apology to fans for donating to an evangelical group with a history of anti-LGBT and anti-abortion activism.
“There’s no other way to say it: We blew it,” McCarthy said in the video. “We made a mistake, and we backed a charity that, upon proper vetting, stands for everything that we do not. So I want to thank everyone on social media who said, ‘What are you doing? Are you sure you want to back this?’ because the answer was ‘No, we do not.'”
The donation was originally part of HBO Max’s holiday-themed promotion for “Superintelligence,” a sci-fi series starring McCarthy being released on the streaming service. The purpose of the campaign, called 20 Days of Kindness, was to “highlight and donate $20K to a different good cause daily for 20 days while encouraging others to lend their support along the way.” Other groups that were listed as donation recipients included Planned Parenthood, the Human Rights Campaign, and The Trevor Project.
However, The Daily Beast first noted that one group set to receive donations was Exodus Cry, a Sacramento-based Christian group that is “committed to abolishing sex trafficking.” The organization’s mission isn’t as straightforward as it seems, though. It’s helmed by CEO Benjamin Nolot, who has a history of inflammatory statements about gay people, including once calling homosexuality “an unspeakable offense to God” — though Nolot has since said that his views have evolved to be “for the right of all people.”
Regardless, McCarthy noted in her video that the donation to Exodus Cry was a major misstep in their campaign and that the $20,000 contribution had been revoked.
“We’re sorry for our mistake; oh boy, are we sorry for it,” said McCarthy in the video. “[I] can’t believe that we missed it, and that’s it. And I just want to say that I hope it doesn’t ding the other charities because they’re really doing some amazing things, and 20 Days of Kindness is really meant to shine the light on all of those wonderful charities. So, let the kindness continue, and thank you. Thanks for the help, we really needed it.”
HBO Max also acknowledged the mistake and that the money had been rescinded. “We were made aware of the issues surrounding Exodus Cry and have removed them from the list of partners associated with the 20 Days of Kindness campaign,” read the statement.
Watch McCarthy’s Instagram video, captioned “Thank you for helping us correct a big mistake,” below:
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