Jane Campion sorry to Venus and Serena Williams for ‘thoughtless’ remark
Jane Campion has apologised to tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams for a “thoughtless” comment she made at a Hollywood award event.
Campion said she was “proud” to be in the same room as the sisters at the Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday.
She did say, though, that the two “don’t play against the males like I have to.”
She subsequently explained, “It was a foolish comment to equate what I do in the film world with everything Serena Williams and Venus Williams have accomplished.”
At the ceremony in Los Angeles, Campion won the best director and best picture for her Western film, The Power of the Dog.
This weekend, the New Zealand filmmaker also took home directing awards at the Baftas and Directors Guild Awards.
She is the favourite to win the best director at the Oscars in two weeks, making her only the third woman to do so in the 93-year history of the prize.
Venus Williams’ forced grin in response to her Critics’ Choice award speech was widely shared on social media, and recordings of her forced smile were widely circulated.
Campion apologised to Venus and Serena Williams, saying, “I did not want to belittle these two legendary black women and world-class athletes.”
The sisters were in attendance at the Critics’ Choice Awards to support the film King Richard, in which Will Smith won the best actor for his performance as their father.
Campion has also been embroiled in another controversy while promoting The Power of the Dog, after Oscar-nominated A Star Is Born actor Sam Elliott made disparaging remarks about how the film depicted cowboys and the American West, which he said: “rubbed me the wrong way.”
In an expletive-laden appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, Elliott stated that its cowboy characters were “going around in chaps and no shirts” and “there were all these hints to homosexuality.”