Meryl Streep's Comments Highlight a Major Issue in the Fight for Hollywood Equality

February 11th 2016

Dave Fonseca

Add Meryl Streep to the list of Hollywood Celebrities who have stumbled when trying to address the film industry's lack of diversity.

When asked by journalists about concerns over the racial composition of the Berlin International Film Festival's judging panel, which is entirely white, Streep stated:

“This jury is evidence that at least women are included and in fact dominate this jury, and that’s an unusual situation in bodies of people who make decisions. So I think the Berlinale is ahead of the game.”

Meryl Streep at Berlin International Film Fest

When asked by an Egyptian actor if she could fairly interpret and judge films made by people from the Middle East and North Africa, Streep said, "there is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture, and after all we're all from Africa originally. Berliners, we're all Africans really," the Associated Press Reports.

Social media commenters seemed to agree that Streep was overlooking the unique challenges faced by Black actors in Hollywood.

It's not the first time that a respected white actress disappointed fans by diminishing the struggles of Black actors to achieve equality.

During last year's Oscars, Patricia Arquette was lauded for her empowering, feminist statements made during her Best Supporting Actress acceptance speech for the film "Boyhood."

Only hours later, though, Arquette seemed to dash the esteem she had earned by appearing to suggest that gay and Black actors needed to line up to support women in Hollywood:

So the truth is even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface there are huge issues at play that really do affect women. It’s time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for — to fight for us now! — Patricia Arquette