Jane Campion didn’t listen to Mary J. Blige when she said there would be no hateration or holleration in this dancery, and it shows. The director, who took the stage at the 27th Annual Critics Choice Awards to accept her award for Best Director for “The Power of the Dog,” made a questionable speech that has folks wondering who pissed in her green juice.
Midway through her short speech, Campion strangely suggested that her struggle is more complex because she was competing against five men, unlike the Williams’ sisters who compete against women. Nothing like comparing apples to a bunch of tennis balls.
“I’d also just like to give my love out to my fellow — the guys, the nominees,” Campion said. “And Serena and Venus, you are such marvels. However, you do not play against the guys like I have to.” The crowd laughed and cheered on, including Serena, who took the jab in jest.
What the Williams sisters’ tennis careers have to do with Campion and her director counterparts is beyond us. Still, the self-proclaimed feminist harbored some hateration and holleration at the Critics Choice Awards.
Black Twitter wasn’t here for it.
Actress Jodie Turner Smith attended the Critics Choice Awards and witnessed the speech up, close, and personal.
Sadly, this is an example of the unnecessary micro-aggressions Black women encounter when other women don’t know how to maneuver their fragile sense of identity. To proclaim that your struggle is possibly more important because you’re competing against men is ignorant and misogynistic. It also invalidates the individual experience that the sisters encountered during their career. They’ve been publicly mocked because of their looks, undermined because of their gender, and randomly insulted just for existing.
Despite the misdirected insult, Campion and the Williams sisters smiled for a photo at the afterparty. Venus and Serena may go high, but they can depend on Black Twitter to take it to the gutter.
Following the backlash, Campion released a statement apologizing for her comment.
“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 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. The last thing I would ever want to do is minimize remarkable women. I love Serena and Venus. Their accomplishments are titanic and inspiring. Serena and Venus, I apologize and completely celebrate you,” she said in a statement released to Deadline.