Julie Delpy Apologizes for Minimizing Black People’s Marginalization in Hollywood

By Sameer Rao Jan 25, 2016

Actress, writer and director Julie Delpy apologized for comments she made that implied that she, a White woman, would have an easier time addressing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ discriminatory practices if she were Black. 

On Friday (January 22), the French-born performer spoke to The Wrap while at the Sundance Film Festival, commenting on her issues with the Oscars and the Academy’s marginalization of women and people of color. While mentioning a statement she made in 2014 about the dominance of White men, she made the following statement, according to The Wrap: 

“Two years ago, I said something about the Academy being very White male, which is the reality, and I was slashed to pieces by the media,” she told TheWrap’s Jeff Sneider. “It’s funny—women can’t talk. I sometimes wish I were African American because people don’t bash them afterward.”

Delpy sent an apology to Entertainment Weekly the next day, expressing regret for her word choice:

“I’m very sorry for how I expressed myself,” Delpy said in a statement released exclusively to EW on Saturday. “It was never meant to diminish the injustice done to African-American artists or to any other people that struggle for equal opportunities and rights, on the contrary. All I was trying to do is to address the issues of inequality of opportunity in the industry for women as well (as I am a woman). I never intended to underestimate anyone else’s struggle! We should stay alert and united and support each other to change this unfair reality and don’t let anyone sabotage our common efforts by distorting the truth.”

Delpy added, “Again I’m so sorry for this unfortunate misunderstanding, people who know me, know very well that I can’t stand inequality and injustice of any kind.”

Delpy’s comments and apology come at a time of increased scrutiny over the Academy’s omission of marginalized peoples and especially this year’s Oscars ceremony not recognizing any Black people in the major acting categories. The Academy announced Friday that it would change its voting and internal governance practices in an attempt to create more diverse and inclusionary membership. 

Delpy has been nominated for two Oscars, both in the "Writing (Adapted Screenplay)" category. The noms were for 2004’s "Before Sunset" and 2013’s "Before Midnight." She starred with Oscars host Chris Rock in 2012’s "Two Days in New York." 

(H/t The Wrap, Entertainment Weekly