'Arrogance and ignorance' of Jane Campion: Director slammed for flippant remark on Williams' sisters

'Venus and Serena, you're such marvels. However, you don't play against the guys, like I have to,' Campion said during her acceptance speech


                            'Arrogance and ignorance' of Jane Campion: Director slammed for flippant remark on Williams' sisters
Users called Jane Campions' comment about Serena (R) and Venus Williams (L) 'racist' and 'ignorant' (Amy Sussman and Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
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New Zealand director Jane Campion is being slammed by users on the Internet for her comment on Serena and Venus Williams during her acceptance speech at the Critics' Choice Awards 2022. While accepting the award for Best Director on Sunday, March 13, Campion chose to make a comment on tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams.

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The 67-year-old said, "Venus and Serena, what an honor to be in the room with you. I've taken up tennis — I truly have — and Will, if you want to come over and give me lessons, I would truly love it. I actually had to stop playing because I've got tennis elbow." She went on to take a dig at her fellow 'male' nominees, after which she added, "Venus and Serena, you're such marvels. However, you don't play against the guys, like I have to."

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Her jibe did not go down well with users on the Internet and they quickly slammed her. One user tweeted, "Jane Campion, how exactly does diminishing and stomping all over the constant misogyny Venus and Serena face help you, a white woman, climb the ladder... how ugly and privileged of you. I need some people to enjoy the sound of their own voices a little bit less." Another said, "Jane Campion accomplished something very impressive, but instead of highlighting the fact that female directors need to be honored, accepted, and seen more - she takes a jab at Serena and Venus? Girl, why you perpetuating comparing women in unnecessary ways? I don't get it."

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One user asked, "Why did Jane Campion literally say this to two black women who endured two-fold sexism and racism?" Another wrote, "Jane Campion really got on stage and decided to tear two Black women down for no fucking reason whatsoever." A third added, "Can we white women ever NOT make it about our 'oppression' [eye roll emoji]. We're the second least oppressed demographic, but second most participatory in oppressing. Venus & Serena have it much tougher than her. They have to fight against both misogyny & racism, & a LOT from us white women," to which a fourth replied, "Jane Campion needs to watch King Richard tonight on HBOMax. She pretty much said to Serena and Venus that she had harder in the film industry because she's competing with men. I don't think Jane ever deal with racism like those two sisters experienced during their teen years."

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One user tweeted, "The arrogance and ignorance of Jane Campion. Anyone who knows anything about Venus and Serena's careers wouldn't think to utter something this stupid and insulting." A second wrote, "Nobody knows who Jane Campion is, yet everyone knows Venus and Serena are, they don't even have to be fans of their sport. F**king awful and self-righteous person." A third added, "What Jane Campion said in her speech was not funny or appropriate. It was racist. White people laughing, and thinking it was vaild shows why there's still so many damb issues in this industry. They're ok with the casual racism because they don't see racism the way we do."

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While one account commented, "She said this after saying she had taken up tennis and they could come by and give her lessons. Disgraceful," another tweeted, "Imagine being so insecure like Jane Campion that even after being a big Hollywood director and winning a #CriticsChoiceAwards you have to attack Black women who had nothing to do with you. I guess she's so threatened by Venus and Serena b/c they're working in film now."

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A third user mentioned, "They didn't competed against the men, but competed against a whole racist white dominated establishment that made sure they were in unappreciated, disrespect and underpaid. Next time, Jane Campion, respect Venus And Serena Williams and don’t belittle their fight. Idiotic lady," while a fourth said, "Jane Campion demonstrates that she's unfamiliar with Mixed Doubles tennis or the fact that Venus and Serena struggled against racism and sexism their whole careers. Crenshaw/Compton is a far cry from Wellington."

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One said, "Jane Campion could've simply highlighted that she was a female director winning amongst male without tearing Venus and Serena who had it 10x harder in life & sport industry than her. Like, gurl what was the reason ??" Another user wrote, "White women centring themselves over Black women is so normalised. Jane Campion served Serena and Venus a backhand with her full chest. This was so unnecessary, petty & ugly. She couldn't achieve what they have with barriers faced in White Male dominated tennis sport #CriticsChoice." 

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A third mentioned, "Jane Campion saying sexism in industry is worse than societal racism while disrespecting Venus and Serena Williams (who nearly f**king died postpartum because of institutional and individual racism) is just so f**king wrong. F**k that noise." A fourth tweeted, "Jane Campion (never heard of her till today) is so outrageous and peak white woman. Karen, Venus and Serena didn't just battle men. They fought and continue to triumph against an entire white-dominated sport and WON. You don't compare & it's embarrassing. Sit down. @jane_campion."

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One user said, "In one fell swoop she managed to 1) diminish the racism and sexism Venus and Serena faced from the beginning of their careers till now. 2) dismiss the blood, sweat and tears they've shed to EARN the awards and accolades they've received. And for what purpose? To prop herself up?" Another added, "Jane Campion could have just accepted her award and gave her boring thank you speech, but she had to share her unsolicited trash opinion about Venus & Serena. The nerve of some people. #CriticsChoice."

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