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Elizabeth Banks Issues Apology to Steven Spielberg Following Gender Disparity Comments

Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images
Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images

A celebrity ritual no less time-honored than the public callout, the public apology is a vital part of being and remaining famous. Think of it like an annual physical, but for your public profile: say something wild enough to grab some headlines and ensure that your name’s sticking in the population’s heads, let it sit for a short while, and once the time is right, issue a dignified apology to show humility and self-awareness. It’s a rich Hollywood tradition, and Elizabeth Banks is the latest personality to run this gauntlet. But when you come at the king, and most especially when that king is literal King of Hollywood Steven Spielberg, you best not miss.

And Banks did miss: the actress made some waves earlier this week when she singled out Spielberg for having never made a movie with a female lead, a claim that is not entirely factually accurate. On Tuesday, during the Crystal + Lucy Awards held by the Women in Film organization, Banks used her podium time to take the noted filmmaker to task: “I went to Indiana Jones and Jaws and every movie Steven Spielberg ever made, and by the way, he’s never made a movie with a female lead. Sorry, Steven. I don’t mean to call your ass out, but it’s true.”

Her assertion that “It’s true” was itself not true, failing to take Spielberg’s adaptation of The Color Purple and its steely lead performance from Whoopi Goldberg into consideration. The Internet was quick to remind her of this fact, and just last night, Banks took to Twitter to issue the mea culpa reproduced below:

Face: saved! But Banks’ comments, slightly erroneous they may be, still contain a kernel of truth. So what if Spielberg has indeed managed to work a woman into his filmography? That was decades ago, and the guy’s only made a bajillion movies since then. Last summer’s The BFG (did you know Steven Spielberg directed an adaptation of The BFG last year? True story!) featured a precocious young girl in the leading role as well, but the point’s larger than Spielberg himself. His gender-imbalanced body of work is symptomatic of larger institutional problems in the industry of filmmaking. In other words: hate the game, not the player.

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