Jane Campion Apologizes to Venus and Serena Williams After Backlash Over Critics Choice Awards Comment

During her Critics Choice Awards speech, Campion made note of the fact that the tennis players “don’t play against the guys, like I have to."

jane campion apologizes williams sisters

Image via Getty/Amy Sussman

jane campion apologizes williams sisters

Jane Campion has issued an apology to Venus and Serena Williams, after facing backlash over a “thoughtless” comment she made at the Critics Choice Awards on Sunday.

“I made a thoughtless comment equating what I do in the film world with all that Serena Williams and Venus Williams have achieved,” she said in a statement, per Deadline. “I did not intend to devalue these two legendary Black women and world-class athletes.”

During the show, Campion won the award for Best Director, and saluted the Williams sisters before saying that they “don’t play against the guys, like I have to.”

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

While neither Williams sister said anything about the comment, Campion was spotted dancing and embracing Venus after the dhow. 

During the show Will Smith took home the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Venus and Serena’s dad in King Richard,  which was executive produced by the superstar sisters. Campion’s The Power of the Dog won Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay on top of Campion’s award.

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