Culture

Jane Campion Apologizes to Serena and Venus Williams for Awkward "Joke" at Critics Choice Awards

The director faced backlash after making a “thoughtless comment” while accepting her Best Director award.

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Jane Campion Apologizes to Serena and Venus Williams for Awkward "Joke" at Critics Choice Awards

The director faced backlash after making a “thoughtless comment” while accepting her Best Director award.

Jane Campion came under fire for making a “thoughtless comment” during her acceptance speech at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards.

The Power of the Dog director, who was awarded Best Director at the ceremony, compared herself to Serena and Venus Williams, claiming that she had to navigate a male-dominated industry that the tennis stars would never find themselves in. “I’d also just like to give my love out to my fellow — the guys, the nominees,” she said, adding: “And Serena and Venus, you are such marvels. However, you do not play against the guys like I have to.” She ended her speech by saying: “I’m like a grandmother of the women’s movement in film now. But I’m still here! Thank you.”

“What Jane Campion said in her speech was not funny or appropriate. It was racist,” one viewer wrote on Twitter. “White people laughing, and thinking it was valid shows why there’s still so many damn issues in this industry. They’re ok with the casual racism because they don’t see racism the way we do.” Another commented: “That clip of Jane Campion should be used in anti-racism spaces as an example of what daily racism looks like.”

Following the backlash, Campion issued an apology to the Williams sisters. “I made a thoughtless comment equating what I do in the film world with all that Serena Williams and Venus Williams have achieved. I did not intend to devalue these two legendary Black women and world class athletes,” the director told Page Six. “The fact is the Williams sisters have, actually, squared off against men on the court (and off), and they have both raised the bar and opened doors for what is possible for women in this world.” She continued: “I love Serena and Venus. Their accomplishments are titanic and inspiring. Serena and Venus, I apologize and completely celebrate you.’

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