Acclaimed Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep adds fuel to the #OscarsSoWhite diversity controversy, stating that “We’re all Africans, really” while serving as the jury president of the Berlin Film Festival.
The comment was a response to a reporter’s question on films from the Arab world and North Africa. She said:
“There is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture, and after all we’re all from Africa originally. Berliners, we’re all Africans, really. This jury is evidence that at least women are included and in fact dominate this jury, and that’s an unusual situation in bodies of people who make decisions,” Streep said. “So I think the Berlinale is ahead of the game.”
It’s ironic that the jury is composed of mostly white Europeans: actor Lars Eidinger, British film critic Nick James, French photographer Brigitte Lacombe, British actor Clive Owen, Italian actress Alba Rohrwacher and Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska.
Her comments may have been an attempt to be inclusive, but it shows a level of racial naivete that is reminiscent of Matt Damon’s comments on “Project Greenlight.”
“I want to urge people to think about, whoever this director is, the way that they’re going to treat the character of Harmony, her being a prostitute — the only black person being a hooker who gets hit by her white pimp. You’re looking at this group right here, and who you’re picking, and the story that you’re doing, and I just want to make sure we’re doing our best-” Project Greenlight producer Effic Brown began, before Damon interjected.
“The only team that’s left with diversity is the team that announced that they liked this script the most as it is, and that’s Leo and Kristen,” Damon pointed out. “Everyone else had major problems with it, with exactly the things that you’re bringing up, and exactly the things that we brought up to each other. I think on the surface, they might look like one thing, but they might end up giving us something that we don’t want. And when we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show.”
Streep’s statement did not go well with Twitter users, many of whom found it quite hilarious.
I can't wait until Meryl Streep wins an Oscar for playing Harriet Tubman.
— Keating Thomas (@keatingthomas) February 11, 2016
With someone like Meryl Streep, you know the foolishness is always there; you just hope one of you dies before you hear it.
— Josh (@J_Manasa) February 11, 2016
I want to be shocked by what Meryl Streep said, but she's an older white woman. Shame she can't be Barack Obama in his life story anymore.
— Meredith McLIEver (@CorporateBarbie) February 11, 2016
So Meryl Streep: "We're all africans" "I'm not a feminist because I love men"
WHO DROPPED MERYL STREEP ON HER HEAD
— Low Budget Targaryen (@Ethelmonster) February 11, 2016
— General Boles (@GeneralBoles) February 11, 2016
I'm gonna need Meryl Streep to just retire or shut up because she's ruining everything.
— Amadi (@amaditalks) February 11, 2016
it's barely 9am and we already gotta get meryl streep outta here
— zzz (@miskeencore) February 11, 2016
Meryl Streep must have seen the side by side pic of her and Future and let it go to her head. pic.twitter.com/G1BQ7INFzF
— Ol' QWERTY Bastard (@TheDiLLon1) February 11, 2016
"We're all Africans, really." — Meryl Streep, proving that white actors should maybe give it a rest for a while. pic.twitter.com/m144X00khk
— Josh Spiegel (@mousterpiece) February 11, 2016