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Jane Campion SLAMMED For Dragging Venus & Serena Williams Into Her Critics Choice Awards Speech!

jane campion : director slammed for dragging venus and serena williams into acceptance speech

UPDATE 11:10 A.M. PST: Following Monday’s backlash, the filmmaker released an apology statement via Variety. In it, she shared:

“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.”

Hopefully Jane actually understands what she did, and isn’t just saving face! Thoughts??


It’s been a while since we witnessed someone lose all their goodwill as fast as Jane Campion.

The director of Power of the Dog has been on a winning streak lately. Not only is her film an Oscars favorite, picking up a ton of awards in the lead-up to the big night, she was also celebrated for her viral moment calling out Sam Elliot’s comments on her movie. Speaking to Variety on the Directors Guild Awards red carpet, she said:

“I’m sorry, he was being a little bit of a B-I-T-C-H. He’s not a cowboy; he’s an actor. The West is a mythic space and there’s a lot of room on the range. I think it’s a little bit sexist.”

Everyone. Was. Cheering.

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Sadly, just a day after being crowned Twitter’s new queen for her scathing response, she went viral again… and not in a good way. The 67-year-old accepted the award for best director at the Critics Choice Awards on Sunday, and her acceptance speech oddly singled out Venus and Serena Williams. At first she praised the sisters (who were in attendance as producers on the award-nominated film about their father, King Richard), saying it was an “honor to be in the same room” with them. But then, after highlighting the male-dominated directors’ category, she looped back around and added:

“Venus and Serena, you’re such marvels. However, you don’t play against the guys, like I have to.”

You can watch the entire cringe-worthy moment (below):

There’s a lot to unpack here, to say the least. First of all, while the Williams sisters might not literally compete against men on the court, they obviously have experience fighting for themselves in a white — and male — dominated industry. But more importantly, why would Jane drag them into her speech at all?! The comparison is apples and oranges, and she could have made a very gracious speech highlighting the very real misogyny in film without ever mentioning anyone else’s name… let alone two completely unrelated women who are NOT directors and were NOT involved in Jane’s category.

The fact that she dragged the most accomplished Black female athletes into the conversation just made it all the worse. Whatever her intention, it comes across as though she, as a white woman, faced more adversity in her profession than two Black women… in tennis. Which is almost definitely not true, and is just an embarrassing and shameful game of one-upmanship to play.

While we can’t imagine what the Williams sisters were truly feeling in that moment, many on Twitter pointed out that Venus’s smile looked pretty uncomfortable when the camera cut her way:

Folks couldn’t help but side-eye the photograph of the pair hugging at the afterparty, too:

Doesn’t look like one of these people is very happy to be with the other…

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Fans and industry professionals alike condemned the New Zealand native’s remarks, including actress Jodie Turner-Smith, who wrote:

“jane taking time out of her best director speech to tell two Black women that she is more oppressed than them is PEAK white feminism.”

We’re not sure why Jane felt the need to include those comments in her speech, but it was definitely in poor form. And coming just 24 hours after her triumphant Sam Elliot takedown, we’re kind of getting whiplash! We really hope she learns a lesson from this backlash, because this is such a disappointment at a time when we could be celebrating the accomplishments of ALL women in film.

See some more reactions to her Williams sisters dig (below):

[Image via TBS/YouTube]

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Mar 14, 2022 10:30am PDT