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After the Toronto world premiere of Barry Jenkins’ latest, If Beale Street Could Talk, the director took the stage for a Q&A where he told the crowd about a troubling experience at last year’s Governors Awards involving the driver who picked him up from the event.
“He told the hotel’s valet, ‘I’m sitting around here waiting to pick up this n—er,'” Jenkins told the crowd. “Then he said, ‘But he’s probably going to get nominated for an Oscar for best director.’ Subtext: But he’s still just a n—er.'”
Jenkins told THR later at the party that he wasn’t informed about this occurrence until he was already in the car, but that when he spoke with the car company, the driver was fired the next day. “This is when I’m wearing a $5,000 suit. I’ve just come from the Governors Awards,” Jenkins said onstage. “So, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone, and we’ve got to tell these damn stories.”
A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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