/  03.14.2022

Celebrated director Jane Campion received criticism for a “cringeworthy” comment she made during her speech at 2022 Critics Choice Awards, Variety reports. The filmmaker is now apologizing for her choice of words as she singled out tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams saying, “Venus and Serena, you’re such marvels. However, you don’t play against the guys, like I have to.”

While the audiences laughed, the camera picked up on Venus’ seemingly puzzled reaction at the 1:14 mark. Serena, on the other hand, rolled with the punches, joining in with the crowd as they applauded.

The Power of the Dog director has since apologized for her wording during the honors ceremony saying, “I made a thoughtless comment equating what I do in the film world with all that Serena Williams and Venus Williams have achieved. I did not intend to devalue these two legendary Black women and world-class athletes.”

She continued, “The fact is the Williams sisters have, actually, squared off against men on the court (and off), and they have both raised the bar and opened doors for what is possible for women in this world. The last thing I would ever want to do is minimize remarkable women. I love Serena and Venus. Their accomplishments are titanic and inspiring. Serena and Venus, I apologize and completely celebrate you.”

Some Twitter users pointed out the issue in Campion’s words, highlighting her “white privilege” card was on full display.

Another user cited the director’s words were just a “bad joke” and that the Williams sisters, themselves, feel they wouldn’t be able to beat a man in the sport.

During an appearance on The David Letterman Show, Serena told Letterman why she preferred playing women’s tennis as opposed to having male opponents. “The men are a lot faster. They serve harder and they hit harder. It’s just a different game.” At the time, the ESPY winner said she would possibly lose to British tennis champ Andy Murray in under six minutes.


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