‘I did not intend to devalue these two legendary Black women and world-class athletes,’ director said
Jane Campion has apologised to Serena and Venus Williams after making a “thoughtless comment” about the athletes at the Critics Choice Awards.
The Australian filmmaker accepted the award for Best Director for The Power of the Dog during Sunday (13 March) night’s awards ceremony, during which she made a comment about the Williams sisters deemed by many to be “unnecessary”.
“Venus and Serena, you’re such marvels,” Campion said. “However, you don’t play against the guys, like I have to.”
While the comment appeared to be warmly received in the room, many viewers called out Campion on social media for comparing her struggles to those of two Black women.
On Monday (14 March), Campion released a statement apologising for “devaluing” the tennis players.
“I made a thoughtless comment equating what I do in the film world with all that Serena Williams and Venus Williams have achieved,” she said.
“I did not intend to devalue these two legendary Black women and world-class athletes.”
Campion continued: “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 minimise remarkable women. I love Serena and Venus. Their accomplishments are titanic and inspiring. Serena and Venus, I apologise and completely celebrate you.”
The Williams sisters attended the Critics Choice Awards with King Richard, the Will Smith film about their father, was nominated.
However, the sports stars were seen talking and dancing with Campion at Netflix’s party after the awards ceremony.