AceShowbiz - %cTyler Perry% came to Joel Osteen's defense. The multi-millionaire televangelist landed in hot water for not immediately opening his Lakewood Church to the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas over the weekend. The church was opened to the evacuees on Tuesday, August 29.
"I know that there's been some controversy about Joel Osteen and him not opening the doors of the church," Tyler said in a Facebook video. "Joel and [wife] Victoria are amazing people - there's no way that they would lock people out of the church or not let people seek shelter."
"There were some safety concerns, and I spoke to them on the phone, and it all made perfect sense to me," the 47-year-old actor/director continued. "So, before you just run and judge someone real quick, you need to know the whole circumstances."
Joel's church was claimed to be flooded but videos and pictures on the internet seemed to show otherwise. In one video, a man deadpanned, "Can you imagine how much money you'd have to spend on those carpets to get them clean? Probably thousands of dollars! I mean, I don't blame the guy..."
A Lakewood associate pastor John Gray responded on Instagram but quickly deleted it. "For the people spreading lies about my church. If WE could get there WE WOULD OPEN THE DOORS," he wrote. "As soon as the highways aren't flooded please know @lakewoodchurch will do all they can alleviate the pain and suffering of as many people as possible. Love y'all! #CantStandLiars."
Joel also defended himself. "There were safety issues that people don't understand. But, I really believe that if people were in my shoes, they would have done the same thing," he told Entertainment Tonight. "When the building is clear, when it's safe, we can start taking people. That's what we have done for 60 years. We love helping people and that's what our message is all about."
In separate statement to CNN, his father-in-law Donald Iloff said, "We have never closed our doors. We will continue to be a distribution center for those in need. We are prepared to shelter people once the cities and county shelters reach capacity. Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm in helping our fellow citizens rebuild their lives."
On "Today" show, Joel said the church was not immediately opened for evacuees because city officials didn't ask him to use it as a shelter. "(The city) didn't need us as shelter then. If we needed to be a shelter, we certainly would've been a shelter right when they first asked."
Tyler announced $1 million donation to the relief efforts in the Gulf Coast. He will send $250,000 of his donation to Joel's church and another $250,000 to %cBeyonce Knowles%' pastor, Rudy Rasmus. Queen Bey herself said she was working with her pastor "to implement a plan to help" the community.