Ben Carson: Oscar Boycott Is Mainly Relevant to "a Few Hollywood Elites"
At "the end of the day, the American people have far more important concerns," the presidential candidate stated.
As the Academy deals with a growing controversy and boycott threats over its all-white actor nominees, the only black candidate for U.S. president, Dr. Ben Carson, says he's not too concerned about "a few Hollywood elites handing themselves awards."
Carson, one of the top five-polling Republicans running for his party's nomination, is the first presidential contender to weigh in on the Oscars, which Spike Lee, Michael Moore and Jada Pinkett Smith have already said they'd boycott.
Carson's statement on the matter, emailed to The Hollywood Reporter, is below in its entirety.
"I’ve said often that diversity is one of America’s greatest strengths. Americans from all walks of life have riveting and important stories to tell, and Hollywood could do a better job of honoring all of these stories, regardless of who tells them or the ideology they represent.
"But at the end of the day, the American people have far more important concerns than a few Hollywood elites handing themselves awards. If we paid as much attention to growing the economy as we do to the extravagant, more than $30 million Oscar party the glitterati throw for themselves, we might have fewer families wondering how they’re going to make ends meet.
"So I’m not terribly concerned about Hollywood’s image. I’m worried about creating a more vibrant America to provide a better future for our children and grandchildren."