Jane Campion apologizes to Williams sisters for ‘reckless’ comments

Jane Campion apologizes to Williams sisters for ‘reckless’ comments

New Zealand director Jane Campion with her Best Director award at the 27th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards, American Critics Awards, in Los Angeles on March 13, 2022

Oscar-nominated director Jane Campion apologized to tennis champs Serena and Venus Williams on Monday for “reckless” comments she made the day before at the awards ceremony.

The New Zealand filmmaker caused a scandal after being awarded the Best Director award in Los Angeles by film critics for her film The Power of the Dog.

Onstage Sunday evening, Jane Campion began celebrating all the female talent assembled in the room, citing in particular the Williams sisters who were in attendance alongside Will Smith, star of the biopic dedicated to heroes, The Williams Way.

“Serena and Venus, you two are such a wonder…but you don’t have to play boys like me,” she said.

This unexpected comment unleashed an angry backlash, denouncing remarks that are often seen as discriminatory and racist. Excerpts from the incident, where we can see the depressing air of Venus Williams, went viral on social networks.

On Monday, Jane Campion was quick to apologize. “I made a reckless comment comparing what I do in the movie world to everything that Serena Williams and Venus Williams have accomplished,” she wrote in a statement, reported by US media.

“I had no intention of underestimating these two legendary women and world-class athletes,” continues the director, noting that they have played matches against men during their careers.

The two champions won the Grand Slam tournaments in mixed doubles.

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“The last thing I want is to diminish the merit of these wonderful women (…) Serena and Venus, I beg your pardon and I fully celebrate you,” concludes the director.

The Critics’ Choice Awards scandal threatened to wipe out the back-to-back success of Jane Campion, who also won two BAFTAs and British Directors Awards this weekend.

“The Power of the Dog” and its director are among the top nominees for the Academy Awards, the top awards of American cinema, which will be shown in Hollywood on March 27.

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