Jane Campion, the Oscar-nominated and multi-award-winning director of The Power of the Dog, apologized to tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, referring to a “thoughtless” comment she made during her acceptance speech at Sunday night’s Critics Choice Awards.

Campion’s speech began on a positive note, acknowledging the many incredible women present in the audience, including the Venus and Serena Williams.

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

That particular moment was referred to the other nominees in the category for best director, who were all men.

Due to the inaccuracy of the comment, as the tennis stars have both played against men, many on social media said Campion’s comments were dismissive of two successful black women’s accomplishments.

“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,” Campion said on Monday. “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.”

In her statement, Campion reiterated her “love” for Venus and Serena Williams.


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“Their accomplishments are titanic and inspiring. Serena and Venus, I apologize and completely celebrate you,” she continued.

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