The lack of diversity in the Hollywood film industry continues to be an incredibly sensitive topic and it's becoming increasingly shocking to see many producers still refusing to bat an eyelid at the obvious marginalization of women and people of color on-screen and behind-the-scenes. Although admittedly more opportunities for diverse groups are gradually cropping up in Hollywood, the underlying issue in the movie world continues to be so severe that a recent study has actually likened it to "epidemic of invisibility."
As it stands, many high-profile creatives have made their voices heard with regards to diversity in film. And now, director Tim Burton has thrown his own opinion into the fray and quite frankly, we all wish he hadn't.
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While promoting his new movie Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which opens on September 30, Burton put his foot in his mouth when he was asked about the lack of black representation in his films, of which he has quite a few. But first, here's the trailer for his latest release:
Regarding film diversity, the director had this to say:
"Nowadays, people are talking about it more. [But] things either call for things, or they don’t. I remember back when I was a child watching The Brady Bunch and they started to get all politically correct. Like, OK, let’s have an Asian child and a black. I used to get more offended by that than just…"
Clearly unsure where he was going with this, he then let the following torrent of word vomit slip out before he could stop himself:
"I grew up watching blaxploitation movies, right? And I said, that’s great. I didn’t go like, OK, there should be more white people in these movies.”
Ouch. It isn't clear exactly what he was trying to say but whatever it is, it sure didn't go down well with fans all over the world. Here were some of the reactions of outrage:
Interestingly though, one of the most notable voices to come to Tim Burton's defense was Samuel L. Jackson himself. The actor, who is the only non-white character in Miss Peregrine's and the first black star in a leading role in the director's films, said this:
"I had to go back in my head and go, how many black characters have been in Tim Burton movies? And I may have been the first, I don’t know, or the most prominent in that particular way, but it happens the way it happens. I don’t think it’s any fault of his or his method of storytelling, it’s just how it’s played out. Tim’s a really great guy."
For someone who harbors such strong views about racism and who was actually involved in the Black Power movement of the '60s to simply say "it happens the way it happens" is quite baffling.
But there you go. At the end of the day it doesn't matter if Tim's comments are borderline offensive because he's "a really great guy," right?
What do you think about Tim Burton's comments?