Billionaire actor and filmmaker, Tyler Perry, has offered to support a 93-year-old South Carolina woman embroiled in a legal battle with developers allegedly trying to force her out of her home.
According to WSAV, Josephine Wright’s family has owned the property since the end of the civil war. She was also married to a Gullah Geechee Islander whose family members escaped slavery and were freed by Union soldiers.
However, Bailey Point Investment Group has filed a lawsuit against the nonagenarian, alleging that a portion of her home is situated on a piece of land it is developing. Wright, however, said she’ll fight to keep her home despite being allegedly harassed by the company.
“I’ve pretty much been a fighter all my life,” she said. “This house means it’s a home, a place where I want to be at this age,” she added.
Wright also said the company’s action initially “puzzled” her, but later got her angry. The 93-year-old woman and her ex-daughter-in-law, Delores Wright, are named as defendants in the lawsuit. Delores, who co-owns the property with Wright, said she ultimately moved out of the home because of the stress she experienced from staying close to the construction site.
In the lawsuit, Bailey Point claims it has evidence that shows parts of Wright’s property are situated on their land. Though she removed a satellite dish and paid $1,900 to move a shed, the company still claims that the 93-year-old’s porch is on their property, WSAV reported.
“You can see I’m at least 12 feet away from the border line which is right there,” Wright told the news outlet. Her neighbors also said the distance between her home and a road the company constructed is 22 feet.
Wright also claimed that the company started harassing her after she declined to sell her land to them. She said her tires were slit, adding that refuse and a snake were also left on her property.
“I guess they figured I would become so unnerved with the harassment that I would say take it. But they don’t know me. I am here to fight for what I have,” she said. “I don’t want to say anything that can be used against me, but I think they are unscrupulous and greedy and they want all the property they can get their hands on.”
Wright is fighting the legal case with assistance from a legal team, as well as former State Rep., Bakari Sellers. “We sent a letter two weeks ago simply asking the developer to communicate. Simply asking the developer to speak to us. Speak to her. Just to have a common conversation about how to move forward,” said Sellers. “I think more disrespectful than a no is a non-response.”
A GoFundMe has also been set up to help raise funds for Wright’s legal fees. More than $150,000 has so far been raised. “We are very big on generational wealth, or trying to accrue it,” Sellers said. “When you talk about poverty in our communities it’s because we don’t have land, and when we do, people want to take it away. There are a lot of people to pick on.
“Pick on me. Don’t pick on a 93-year-old woman who has lived her life doing nothing wrong.”
Tyler Perry also pledged to support Wright after watching her story. “I’ve pretty much been a fighter all my life” Perry quoted Wright in a post on Instagram. “Ms. Wright, please tell where [sic] to show up and what you need to help you fight.”
Rapper, Meek Mill, and singer, Fantasia Barrino, also praised Perry for offering to help Wright, while others also promised to follow suit. “Corporate bullying at its finest .. this superhero status!” Meek Mill commented, with Barrino also writing, “I will stand with you as well Tyler.”