Meryl Streep Clarifies "We're All Africans" Comment: "I Did Not 'Defend' the 'All-White Jury'"

Getty Images

The Hollywood actress said "distorted reporting" at the recent Berlin International Film Festival had her wrongly addressing the jury's racial makeup.

Meryl Streep on Thursday pushed back against what she called "distorted reporting" of her "we're all Africans, really" comment at the Berlin International Film Festival. A number of reports wrongly equated her remark with a separate discussion of the jury's all-white makeup, Streep pointed out.

Writing in a Huffington Post op-ed, the veteran actress wrote: "No one at that press conference addressed a question to me about the racial makeup of the jury. I did not 'defend' the 'all-white jury,' nor would I, if I had been asked to do so.

"Inclusion — of races, genders, ethnicities and religions — is important to me, as I stated at the outset of the press conference," said Streep. When asked during that press conference about her knowledge of African and Arab films, the Oscar winner offered a message of global inclusion.

"The thing I've noticed from my [different] roles is there is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture. And, after all, we're all from Africa, originally. We're all Berliners. We're all Africans, really," she said. The jury's all-white makeup was brought up during the press conference in separate questioning to jury members, and Streep didn't respond to those queries.

"I hope the press will shower [festival winners] Yang Chao, Lav Diaz, Mohamed Ben Attia, Gianfranco Rosi and the other artists we honored with as much energetic attention as that directed at my misconstrued remarks," the actress said in her op-ed. "Their work is newsworthy and deserves celebration. It reflects a diversity of place, race, viewpoint and humanity that should not be invisible in America," said Streep.

Gianfranco Rosi's refugee documentary Fire at Sea won the Golden Bear for best film at the Berlinale, beating out several other politically fueled dramas. The doc looks at the Italian island of Lampedusa, where thousands of refugees have flooded.

Majd Mastoura won best actor honors for his debut film role in Hedi, a touching love story set in modern-day Tunisia and the feature helming bow of Mohamed Ben Attia; and Danish veteran Trine Dyrholm took the Silver Bear for best actress for her tour de force performance in Thomas Vinterberg's The Commune, playing a successful career woman in 1970s Denmark whose life slowly unravels after she and her husband found a commune with their friends.

comments powered by Disqus