Jane Campion Apologizes for Williams Sisters Comment: ‘I Love Serena and Venus’
JAnne Campion apologized for her victory speech at Sunday night’s Critics Choice Awards, in which she made a controversial comment about Venus Williams and Serena Williams which provoked a violent and rapid reaction.
“I made a thoughtless comment equating what I do in the film world with everything Serena Williams and Venus Williams have accomplished,” Campion said, in a statement provided to Vanity Room. “I had no intention of devaluing these two legendary black women and world-class athletes. The thing is, the Williams sisters have, in fact, faced men on the court (and off it), and they’ve both raised the bar and opened the doors to what’s possible for women in this world. The last thing I want to do is belittle remarkable women. I love Serena and Venus. Their achievements are titanic and inspiring. Serena and Venus, I apologize and completely celebrate you.
The apology came after a wild and wild weekend for the power of the dog filmmaker, who could become the third woman to win the Oscar for best director in a few weeks. Campion snagged top honors at the BAFTA Awards and then the Directors Guild Awards, where Campion delivered a now-viral burn to Sam Elliotreview of his film (“he’s not a cowboy, he’s an actor”). But it was by accepting yet another statuette at the Critics Choice Awards, also held this weekend, that Campion courted some controversy herself.
“It’s absolutely beautiful to be here tonight among so many incredible women,” Campion said during her speech, praising her honored colleague. Halle Berry before paying attention to Venus and Serena Williams. Their life is told in King RichardFor who Will Smith won Best Actor at the Critics Choice Awards. “What an honor to be in the room with you,” she said, adding, “I started tennis – really – and Will, if you want to come and teach me, I would really like that. In fact, I had to stop playing because I have tennis elbow.
Campion then thanked his “comrade, comrade, comrade” nominees that night – “guys”, which include Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Guillermo del Toro (alley of nightmares), Steven Spielberg (West Side Story) and Denis Villeneuve (Dunes). “Venus and Serena, you are wonders,” she said, returning to her previous point. “However, you don’t play against guys, like I have to.”
The comment seemed to elicit cheers from much of the room, including Serena, while Venus’ reaction was more stoic. But on social media, Campion’s plea received a much colder response, with many pointing out that the Williams sisters to have competed against men – winning several titles in mixed doubles competitions. Others voicing their opposition include another attendee at the awards ceremony Jodie TurnerSmith and bad feminist author Roxane Gaywho both criticized the speech on Twitter.