Jane Campion Is Getting Called Out For Slamming Venus And Serena Williams In Her Awards Speech

“Venus and Serena, you are such marvels. However, you do not play against the guys like I have to.”

The 67-year-old New Zealander took to the Critics Choice Awards stage to accept her award for Best Director, first beginning her speech by thanking her presenter, Taika Waititi, and praising the “incredible women” in the room. She also congratulated “the guys,” aka the male colleagues she was nominated alongside.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

The night also saw Campion win for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.

And that’s when Campion directed her attention to the Williams sisters, who are — as you may know — the subjects of the Will Smith–starring biographical drama King Richard (also making the awards circuit right now) about the tennis legends’ upbringing.

Steve Granitz / Getty Images

“Venus and Serena, you are such marvels,” she said. “However, you don’t play against the guys like I have to.”

Twitter: @mavericksmovies / @Phil_Lewis_ / The CW / Via Twitter: @Phil_Lewis_

While the comment elicited loud cheers in the room, it was obviously incredibly uncomfortable, as shown by Venus’s telling reaction to the awkward callout.

The clip of the speech circulated widely on social media, with many pointing out Campion’s privilege as a white woman, as well as the wholly unnecessary putting down of the Williams sisters, who have time and time again faced both racism and misogyny within the world of tennis and beyond.

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.

12:35 PM – 14 Mar 2022

Twitter: @MissJodie / Via Twitter: @MissJodie

Others mentioned that Campion has benefited from nepotism, something that neither Venus nor Serena had in their careers.

Jane Campion, daughter of famous New Zealand theatre director Richard Campion & actress Edith Campion MBE, explains the challenges of being a white woman from an established family to Venus and Serena Williams. https://t.co/7IhXlrNIBw

11:16 AM – 14 Mar 2022

Twitter: @meghamohan / Via Twitter: @meghamohan

It’s also worth noting that both Venus and Serena have competed in mixed doubles, which are tennis tournaments that feature both men and women, and have won several of them. The sisters’ accomplishments are also routinely glossed over in favor of the men in tennis.

The arrogance and ignorance of Jane Campion. Anyone who knows anything about Venus and Serena’s careers wouldn’t think to utter something this stupid and insulting. https://t.co/SljZ0smqR6

04:46 AM – 14 Mar 2022

Twitter: @gpfarris / Via Twitter: @gpfarris

And just generally, Campion’s comments left a sour taste in people’s mouths, who found the comment to be a prime example of misogynoir.

Critic’s Choice: The winner is Jane Campion! Jane: Thank you. Now, let me attack Black women minding their own damn business.

04:20 AM – 14 Mar 2022

Twitter: @SashaBeauloux / Via Twitter: @SashaBeauIoux

In fact, the comment comes just days after the director was praised for calling out Sam Elliott, a veteran actor who went on an anti-gay rant directed at The Power of the Dog. Some saw it as a prime example of white feminism.

Not even a full two days of everybody bigging her up for calling out Sam Elliot, and Jane Campion has BW’s names in her mouth unnecessarily. Intersectionality kicks white feminists’ ass every. single. fcking. time. https://t.co/Jkk6Ar4aZT

04:48 AM – 14 Mar 2022

Twitter: @naima / Via Twitter: @naima

UPDATE: Campion has since apologized for her remarks, which she called “thoughtless.” The director said in a statement to the press, “I did not intend to devalue these two legendary Black women and world-class athletes.” You can read more about her apology here.

Mar. 14, 2022, at 22:04 PM

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