Meryl Streep has become the latest star to address the ongoing row over diversity in Hollywood, commenting that “We are all Africans” when quizzed on the matter.
The remark came when Meryl was asked about the presence of women and people of colour in Hollywood at the launch of the Berlin Film Festival.
She replied: “I've played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures.
"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."
The actress' comments haven’t exactly been well-received, with plenty of film fans taking to Twitter to slam her:
Guys, Meryl Streep has to say "we're all Africans"--lord knows she's tryna land the lead in that Michelle Obama biopic.— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) February 11, 2016
Meryl Streep said "We're all Africans," in response to being on an all-white film jury. European colonizers & enslavers would have disagreed— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) February 11, 2016
oOoh meryl streep is trending :)— Olly Alexander (@alexander_olly) February 11, 2016
Since according to Meryl Streep we're all Africans I can't wait to see Wesley Snipes play George Washington!— Bougie Black Girl (@BougieBlackGurl) February 11, 2016
Next time Meryl Streep flaps her gums abt sexism/ageism in Hollywood. ..someone needs to say "hey we're all Homo sapiens anyway so chill"— Caalz (@naayacaliyo) February 12, 2016
Yes Meryl, but some of us were born with black skin& were enslaved because of and some of us weren't. You should've kept quiet #MerylStreep— BabtizedRickySpanish (@micahsgrrl) February 12, 2016
Meryl Streep just outdid Derek #Zoolander in idiotic statements..— MoviemanKev (@KevOKeefe1979) February 12, 2016
MERYL STREEP WHAT ARE YOU DOING. WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT. THE OSCARS ARE COMING UP. Noooooooo 😣😣😣😣😣— Haley Moore (@tweetlikehaley) February 12, 2016
The criticism wasn’t just limited to 140 characters though, and Slate writer Christina Cauterucci has tackled Meryl’s comments.
“Claiming African ancestry when you have none, at least not in the past few millennia, is insulting to people whose actual family history roots them in that continent and the diverse cultures, triumphs, and struggles it’s seen,” she writes. “The context of your remarks, which were uttered in defense of the lack of diversity on the Berlin International Film Festival panel, makes them even more troubling.”
Hollywood’s diversity issues have moved to the fore in recent weeks, following Jada Pinkett Smith’s call for an Oscars boycott.
A number of stars have been quizzed on the matter, and Sylvester Stallone, who is up for the Best Supporting Actor accolade, recently admitted that he considered skipping the ceremony over it.