Director Jane Campion’s acceptance speech at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards, where she randomly called out tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams, made more headlines than her Best Director award-winning moment at the 27th-annual event.
After snatching the trophy for her 2021 western drama, “The Power of the Dog,” on Sunday night, Campion highlighted that she was up against five other male directors in the prestigious category before falsely stating that the Williams sisters have never faced such obstacles on the tennis court.
“I’d also just like to give my love out to my fellow — the guys, the nominees,” she said, referring to directors Paul Thomas Anderson, Kenneth Branagh, Guillermo del Toro, Denis Villeneuve and Steven Spielberg. “And Serena and Venus, you are such marvels. However, you do not play against the guys like I have to,” she added.
The “King Richard” executive producers were in attendance – guests of the film’s star Will Smith. While Serena smiled and clapped, Venus appeared uncomfortable by what she had just heard. Critics online furthur echoed those sentiments. Several people took to their social media pages where slammed the New Zealand filmmaker’s remarks, many of whom felt it was disrespectful and inaccurate.
One Twitter user called out the director, writing, “Jane Campion, how exactly does diminishing and stomping all over the constant misogynoir Venus and Serena face help you, a white woman, climb the ladder…how ugly and privileged of you.” That person added, “I need some people to enjoy the sound of their own voices a little bit less.”
Another person commented, “F–k Jane Campion and f-‘k everyone who laughed at her comment about Venus and Serena. There is literally nothing funny about a old white woman raising herself & her accomplishments up by stepping on black women & their accomplishments.”
A third critic uploaded Bill Burr’s “Saturday Night Live” opening monologue, in which the comedian called out white women’s problematic behavior. “Somehow, white women swung their Gucci-booted feet over the fence of oppression and stuck themselves at the front of the line,” Burr said at the time. “I don’t know how they did it.”
However, there didn’t appear to be any hard feelings between the women as Campion and Venus were spotted sharing a hug and laughs at Netflix’s afterparty.