Director receives backlash after addressing Serena and Venus Williams in acceptance speech

Director receives backlash after addressing Serena and Venus Williams in acceptance speech
Jane Campion tells Venus and Serena Williams 'you do not play against ...

While accepting the award for best director at the Critics Choice Awards, Power of the Dog director Jane Campion made a comment about tennis superstar sisters Venus and Serena Williams that's generating backlash online.

On Sunday, Campion recognized other women in the room as she gave an acceptance speech for the award, including SeeHer award recipient Halle Berry and Venus and Serena Williams who served as executive producers for King Richard, a biographical drama about their father and tennis coach.

“What an honor to be in the room with you, I’ve taken up tennis — I truly have," Campion joked. But then Campion turned her attention to her fellow nominees - and of the six nominees, Campion was the only woman.

"I give my love out to my fellow... the guys, the nominees," Campion said in reference to the long history of men being nominated and awarded more often than women. "And you know Serena and Venus you are such marvels, however, you do not play against the guys like I have to," Campion said while looking at the two tennis star sisters.

As Campion walked off stage, the crowd including the sisters applauded.

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But quickly after Campion's acceptance speech, social media began buzzing with viewers criticizing the director's decision to call out the tennis pair who were not nominated in the category.

Some Twitter users noted that Campion's comment implied that neither Williams sister had to endure the sexism that Campion has had to fight as a female director.

However, as the daughter of New Zealand actress Edith Campion and director Richard Campion, people pointed out Campion has had a leg-up in the industry that many other women do have the privilege of.

While this is Campion's first CCA, Campion has won 97 different awards and been nominated 172 times.

Campion's backlash comes just hours after she was praised for shutting down comments made by actor Sam Elliot. Elliot, who is known for his work on Western films, called Campion's film "a piece of sh*t" and insinuated The Power of the Dog did not have enough 'western' components to it.

"I’m sorry, he was being a little bit of a B-*-*-C-H. He’s not a cowboy; he’s an actor,” Campion toldVariety on the red carpet. “The West is a mythic space and there’s a lot of room on the range. I think it’s a little bit sexist.”

Perhaps Campion should take some acceptance speech advice from Jude Hill.

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