The Power of the Dog director Jane Campion under fire for ‘unnecessary’ Williams sisters remark

‘You don’t play against the guys like I have to,’ director claimed

Louis Chilton
Monday 14 March 2022 10:01
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The Power of the Dog filmmaker Jane Campion has been criticised for a remark about Venus and Serena Williams during her speech at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards.

Campion was accepting the award for Best Director when she made a reference to the tennis legends, who were in attendance due to their involvement in King Richard, the Will Smith-starring biopic about their father, Richard Williams.

The director won the prize ahead of fellow nominees Steven Spielberg, Kenneth Branagh, Paul Thomas Anderson, Denis Villeneuve, and Guillermo del Toro.

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

While the remark appeared to be warmly received in the room, many viewers have called out Campion on social media.

“Jane Campion messed up big there,” wrote journalist Bonga Dlulane. “She could have thanked the people and gone after misogyny and sexism without involving the Williams sisters. Does she think they haven’t had to deal with sexism, misogyny and racism?”

“Jane Campion really got on stage and decided to tear two Black women down for no f***ing reason whatsoever,” tweeted Imani Gandy, senior editor for academic journal Law & Policy.

“Venus Williams is me after Jane Campion’s unnecessary comment during her #CriticsChoiceAwards speech,” journalist Nola Marianna commented, sharing a photo of the tennis pro appearing to grimace during Campion’s speech.

“Ladies and gentlemen… white feminism!”

“Jane Campion trying to compete in the oppression olympics with Venus and Serena as if the Williams sisters don’t have three Olympic gold medals in doubles and each winning individual gold in 2000 and 2012,” another commented.

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Someone else asked: “@jane_campion Why did you feel compelled to put down the achievements of Serena and Venus Williams to make yourself feel better? And shame on those in the audience that clapped and cheered at her comment.”

Writer Roxane Gay wrote: “It’s amazing how much real estate the Williams occupy in people’s minds. And in addition to the racism of it all, Campion is suggesting that competing against men is more difficult/legitimate than competing against women. Has she met women?”

Many others called Campion’s comments “unnecessary” and her remarks “backhanded”.

The Independent has contacted a representative of Jane Campion for comment.

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