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Jane Campion apologises to Venus and Serena Williams over ‘thoughtless comment’

Cologne Film Festival
Jane Campion

Jane Campion has apologised to Venus and Serena Williams over a “thoughtless comment” she made at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards.

While accepting the Best Director prize for her work on The Power of the Dog at the event on Sunday, the New Zealand-based filmmaker referred to the tennis stars, who were at the prizegiving to support the actors and crew of King Richard – the biography about their father Richard Williams.

“Venus and Serena, you’re such marvels. However, you don’t play against the guys, like I have to,” she stated, highlighting how she was the only woman nominated within the Best Director category, which also included Paul Thomas Anderson, Steven Spielberg, Denis Villeneuve, Guillermo del Toro, and Kenneth Branagh.

But after receiving backlash online, Campion issued a statement in which she insisted she never meant to “minimise” such inspiring sportswomen.

“I made a thoughtless comment equating what I do in the film world with all that Serena and Venus Williams have achieved. I did not intend to devalue these two legendary Black women and world-class athletes,” she said, according to Variety. “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 minimise remarkable women. I love Serena and Venus. Their accomplishments are titanic and inspiring. Serena and Venus, I apologise and completely celebrate you.”

Campion also won Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay at the event, while Will Smith took home the Best Actor prize for his performance in King Richard.

– Cover Media