Emmy Griffin / March 16, 2022

Woke Director Grovels Before the Mob

Jane Campion issues an apology to Venus and Serena Williams after ill-advised remarks.

It’s awards season in Hollywood, and those who are unfortunate enough to have to report on the crazy things celebrities say have fresh cause to excoriate them. Hollywood elites such as actors, directors, producers, et al. are infamously out of touch regarding ordinary Americans’ concerns, but this type of hubris is next level.

At the Netflix Critics Choice Awards, Jane Campion, director of the movie “The Power of the Dog,” was making her acceptance speech for best director. She did the usual duties of paying homage to those other greats in the room. Venus and Serena Williams were in attendance in support of the movie “King Richard,” a biopic about their father and coach. Campion started out by commending the sisters on their achievements as well as saying foolish nothings about playing tennis. She went on to honor others but then decided to circle back to the Williams sisters and make a seemingly innocuous (to her, anyway) comment.

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

This was met with the vacuous cheers from the feminist vultures happy to see cheap points scored. When this statement went mainstream, though, the Internet went bonkers with criticism.

Campion, for her part, did apologize, which most felt was warranted. It was a good apology for the most part:

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. 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 in the peanut gallery have decided to construe this as a racially motivated, tone-deaf comment by a white New Zealand woman with a foot in the door of the world she inhabits thanks to her director father. There is no evidence of that at all in either her comments leading up to the one that got her into trouble or in her apology.

The greatest faux pas that Campion committed was the off-kilter comparison regarding women in athletics vs. women in the film industry. Arguably, both are challenging in various ways. But the most telling thing of all is summed up perfectly by culture writer Kyle Smith: “Note to Jane Campion: there’s a major biological reason why female athletes don’t usually compete against men in sports: men are bigger, stronger and faster. Female artists face no comparable handicaps.”

This is a topic being hotly debated concerning men like Lia Thomas and Laurel Hubbard — men claiming to actually be women. These men are competing against women in their chosen sports and, in the case of Lia Thomas, decimating the women’s competitive field. It is a grave injustice to the women who have spent their lives and careers to have a chance to break records and earn medals only to have these honors taken away by gender dysphoric men.

Honestly, though, Campion’s initial comment reads more like an insecure woman badly handling being in the spotlight. In spite of her winning an award by her peers celebrating her achievement, she felt it necessary to throw other women, innocent bystanders, under the bus. The Williams sisters were only there because of the movie about their dad. They personally weren’t up for any awards. Definitely a low blow.

To say to these amazing athletes that they don’t have to play against the guys — as if that belittles their achievements — is arrogance and insecurity. Women in sports shouldn’t have to play against men. Women have fought long and hard to make that distinction. To compare the situation in women’s sports to the rank chauvinism in Hollywood is ludicrous. Campion’s apology was needed.

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