Director Is Sorry for 'Thoughtless' Remark About Williams Sisters

'You don’t play against the guys, like I have to,' Jane Campion said
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2022 3:19 PM CDT
Power of the Dog Director Apologizes to Williams Sisters
Jane Campion accepts the award for best director for "The Power of the Dog" at the 27th annual Critics Choice Awards on Sunday, March 13, 2022, at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Director Jane Campion has apologized for what she admits was a "thoughtless" comment about Serena and Venus Williams at the Critics Choice Awards Sunday. Campion, who won the Best Director award for The Power of the Dog, was slammed as "arrogant" after she praised her fellow nominees, all men, and added: "Venus and Serena, you’re such marvels However, you don’t play against the guys, like I have to." The sisters were at the ceremony to support King Richard, a biodrama about their father, Richard Williams. A torrent of criticism on social media followed Campion's remark, BuzzFeed reports.

Critics slammed Campion's remarks as "white feminism" at its worst, noting that Campion has had the benefit of coming from a family prominent in her industry—and that the Williams sisters have won multiple mixed doubles tournaments. "Anyone who knows anything about Venus and Serena's careers wouldn't think to utter something this stupid and insulting," tweeted Chicago Sun-Times sports editor Gene Farris. In her apology, Campion, who was seen with Venus Williams at an afterparty, said she hadn't intended to "devalue these two legendary Black women and world-class athletes," Variety reports.

The sisters have "raised the bar and opened doors for what is possible for women in this world," Campion said. "Their accomplishments are titanic and inspiring. Serena and Venus, I apologize and completely celebrate you." Mashable reports that Emma Watson was praised for her remarks at a different awards ceremony Sunday night. When BAFTA host introduced the Harry Potter star as a presenter, saying, "She's proud to call herself a feminist, but we all know she's a witch," Watson said, "I'm here for all the witches." The remark was widely seen as Watson pushing back against Harry Potter creator JK Rowling's controversial stance on transgender issues. (Last week, Campion fired back against actor Sam Elliott's criticism of The Power of the Dog's focus on homosexuality.)

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