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Jane Campion apologises for “thoughtless” comment to Venus and Serena Williams


Jane Campion, the filmmaker behind the popular Oscar contender The Power of the Dog, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is landed in hot water for her “thoughtless” comments at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards.

Winning the award for Best Director at the annual ceremony, Campion took to the stage to thank everyone who helped her on the film and give her recognition to the other famous faces in the audience. Supporting the film King Richard, which details their extraordinary upbringing, tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams were also in the crowd, with Campion stating, “Venus and Serena, you’re such marvels”. 

Continuing, she added, “However, you don’t play against the guys, like I have to,” which although was received well by the audience, has since been criticised by many on social media for comparing her own struggles to that of two Black women. 

Releasing a statement following the criticism, Campion said: “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”. 

Having long supported female filmmakers in cinema, Campion was quick to defend herself, adding: “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”. 

Soon to represent her Netflix film The Power of the Dog at the 2022 Oscars, featuring the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee, Campion put the controversy between herself and the Williams sisters comfortably to bed. Concluding her thoughts, she added, “I love Serena and Venus. Their accomplishments are titanic and inspiring. Serena and Venus, I apologise and completely celebrate you”.