Jane Campion raised eyebrows at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards with a painfully awkward joke comparing herself to Serena and Venus Williams.
While accepting Best Director for “The Power of the Dog” at Sunday’s ceremony, Campion went out of her way to note that she was nominated against five men, a situation in which she claimed the Williams sisters would never end up on the tennis court.
“I’d also like to give my love to my comrades – the guys, the nominees,” she laughed, referring to Paul Thomas Anderson (“Licorice Pizza”), Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”), Guillermo del Toro (“Nightmare Alley”), Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story”) and Denis Villeneuve (“Dune”).
“And Serena and Venus, you are such wonders,” Campion continued. “However, you don’t play guys like I have to.”
The cameras then cut out Venus, 41, who was watching awkwardly from her seat. Serena, 40, seemed less bothered by the comment as she smiled and clapped her hands in the air.
Campion, 67, ended her speech by saying, “I’m like a grandma to the women’s movement in film now. But I’m still here! Thank you!”
Critics flocked to social media to call out the director for what turned out to be a tone-deaf comment.
“Jane takes the time for her best directorial speech to tell two black women she’s more oppressed than they are, it’s white feminism PEAK,” actress Jodie Turner-Smith, who attended the event with her husband Joshua Jackson, tweeted.
“Critics’ Choice: The winner is Jane Campion!” Jane: Thank you. Now let me attack black women minding their own business,” one viewer said. tweeted.
“Phew…Jane Campion’s train really didn’t last long. white women really come for black women without provocation,” a second person wrote.
“Jane Campion really took the stage and decided to tear down two black women for no reason”, a third Agreed.
“What Jane Campion said in her speech was neither funny nor appropriate. It was racist. White people who laugh and think it was valid show why there are still so many stupid problems in this industry. They are OK with casual racism because they don’t see racism the way we do,” another tweeted.
There didn’t appear to be any hard feelings between the tennis pros and Campion as they were spotted dancing together at an afterparty in photos posted on social networks.
It should be noted, however, that Venus and Serena have won competitions against male athletes in the past.
Representatives for Campion, Serena and Venus did not immediately respond to Page Six’s requests for comment.
New York Post