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Meryl Streep’s diversity comments were misinterpreted

Actress Meryl Streep has clarified comments she made about diversity at the Berlin Film Festival in Germany earlier this month (Feb16), insisting her words were misinterpreted.
The Devil Wears Prada star, who was the head of the festival’s jury, was asked if she felt she was able to understand movies from African and Arab countries and she replied, “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.”
Her comments came amid the controversy surrounding the Academy Awards nominations in January (16), when several actors, including Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, vowed to boycott the Oscars ceremony as a protest over the fact no one of colour was nominated for a top acting award.
However, Streep insists she was not trying to poke fun at the issue, and was instead trying to point out how everyone is connected.
“Contrary to distorted reporting, no one at that press conference addressed a question to me about the racial makeup of the jury,” she writes on The Huffington Post website. “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.”
“In a longwinded answer to a different question, asked of me by an Egyptian reporter concerning the film from Tunisia, Arab/African culture, and my familiarity with Arab films specifically, I said I had seen and loved Theeb, and Timbuktu, but admitted, ‘I don’t know very much about, honestly, the Middle East…’ and yet I’ve played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures.
“The thing I notice is… there is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture, and after all, we’re all from Africa originally, you know? We’re all Berliners, we’re all Africans, really.”
Meryl goes on to state she was not “minimizing difference” with her remarks but “emphasizing the invisible connection empathy enables”.

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