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Director Accused Of White Privilege After 'Calling Out' Venus And Serena Williams In Acceptance Speech

Director Accused Of White Privilege After 'Calling Out' Venus And Serena Williams In Acceptance Speech

Jane Champion, the award-winning director of The Power of the Dog, said Serena and Venus did not ‘play against the guys like I have to’.

Jane Campion, the director of the Oscar-nominated film The Power of the Dog, has been accused of white privilege after her acceptance speech at the Critics' Choice Awards on Sunday.

Campion accepted the award for best director and mentioned Serena and Venus in her speech, who were in attendance to support the film King Richard, which is based on their relationship with their father.

Jane Campion's comments drew criticism on social media. (

“Venus and Serena, what an honour to be in the room with you,” Campion said.

“I’d also like to give my love out to my fellow - the guys. And Serena and Venus, you are such marvels. However, you do not play against the guys like I have to,” she joked, referencing her fellow best director nominees who were all male.

Campion’s comments were widely condemned on social media, with many calling them “racist”, “diminishing” and an example of “white privilege”.

Venus and Serena Williams attended the Critics' Choice Awards on Sunday. (

One Instagram user said: “Why even mention people not involved in your life or your film in an acceptance speech?! Make it make sense?!”

While another commenter shared: “There was no need to even name them”.

A third person wrote: “Well that was unnecessary”.

“Ladies and gentlemen I bring you… WHITE FEMINISM,” one woman wrote in the comments.

A Twitter user tweeted: “We’ve all worked with or for a Jane Campion,” alongside a picture of Venus Williams reacting to Campion’s comment.

Twitter/The CW)

Actress Jodie Turner-Smith, who attended the ceremony, tweeted: “[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.”

Drew Dixon, a producer, shared her thoughts on Twitter after Campion's speech went viral on Twitter. "The nerve of Jane Campion to suggest her journey is harder than that of two Black women who’ve overcome racism, sexism and classism in one of the whitest richest sports in the world to become CHAMPIONS again and again is why I have trust issues with white feminists."


Neither Williams sister has publicly commented on Campion's acceptance speech comments.

On Tuesday, Campion released a statement via Vanity Fair apologising for the offence caused by her comments.

"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."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, Celebrity