Venus and Serena Williams: The Power Of The Dog director Jane Campion apologises for ‘thoughtless’ comment about tennis star sisters | Ents & Arts News

Venus and Serena Williams: The Power Of The Dog director Jane Campion apologises for ‘thoughtless’ comment about tennis star sisters | Ents & Arts News


Oscars favourite Jane Campion has apologised for making a “thoughtless” comment about tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams during her acceptance speech at the Critics’ Choice Awards.

The Power Of The Dog filmmaker, who was named best director at the awards, said on stage that she was “honoured” to be in the same room as the champion sisters – but added that they “don’t play against the guys like I have to”.

Campion won the prize at the US ceremony just hours after receiving the equivalent at the BAFTAs in the UK, where she became just the third woman in history to do so, and is favourite to do the same at the Oscars, too.

Read more: Benedict Cumberbatch on The Power Of The Dog, toxic masculinity, and championing women

Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank in Power Of The Dog. Pic: Kirsty Griffin/Netflix
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Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Phil Burbank in The Power Of The Dog. Pic: Kirsty Griffin/Netflix

She has now issued a statement shared by US media outlets, saying she did not “intend to devalue” the tennis stars, after receiving criticism online for her comment.

“I made a thoughtless comment equating what I do in the film world with all that Serena Williams and Venus Williams have achieved,” Campion said.

“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 minimise remarkable women. I love Serena and Venus.”

Campion described the sisters’ accomplishments as “titanic and inspiring” and added: “Serena and Venus, I apologise and completely celebrate you.”

The Power Of The Dog, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, also won the top award for best film at the Critics’ Choice ceremony, again after taking home the equivalent prize at the BAFTAs.

Will Smith was named best actor at the Critics' Choice Awards in the US, for his portrayal of the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard. Pic: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
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Will Smith was named best actor at the Critics’ Choice Awards. Pic: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The Williams sisters attended the Critics’ Choice ceremony to present the award for best drama series and also to support Will Smith, who won the best actor award for his portrayal of their father in King Richard – again, following on from a win at the BAFTAs.

In her Critics’ Choice best director speech, Campion had also asked the tennis stars if they would give her tennis lessons, having recently taken up the sport.



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