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Jane Campion apologises for ‘thoughtless’ comment about Williams sisters

Jane Campion has apologised for ‘thoughtless’ comment about the Williams sisters (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Jane Campion has apologised for ‘thoughtless’ comment about the Williams sisters (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Jane Campion has apologised for her “thoughtless” comment at the Critics Choice Awards (CCA) about tennis star sisters Venus and Serena Williams.

The award-winning director said she had not meant to “devalue” the achievements of the world-class players and minimise the “remarkable women”.

During her acceptance speech for best director at the CCA, Campion said she was “honoured” to be in the same room as Venus and Serena, but added they “don’t play against the guys like I have to”.

27th Annual Critics Choice Awards – Show
The all-star sisters took to the stage to present the award for best drama series at the CCA (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Following a backlash to her comments online, Campion said in a statement shared by US media outlets that she “completely celebrated” the sisters and their “titanic” accomplishments.

“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.

“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.

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

27th Annual Critics Choice Awards – Show
Best director winner Campion took to the stage twice in a row after The Power Of The Dog also won best picture (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Following her best director win, Campion was forced to take to the stage twice in a row, after her dark western The Power Of The Dog also won best picture.

She had picked up equivalent accolades at the Bafta awards in London just hours previously.

In her CCA best director speech, she also asked the Williams sisters if they would give her tennis lessons, having recently taken up the sport.

The pair also took to the stage themselves to present the award for best drama series and said there could not have been a better tribute to their father than Will Smith’s portrayal of him in King Richard.

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