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People Are Mad At Meryl Streep For Saying 'We're All Africans'

The actress might have chosen her words more wisely when addressing diversity at the Berlin Film Festival.

 

Meryl Streep is under fire for what some have interpreted as a tone-deaf comment about Hollywood diversity. 

The AP reports that during a press conference on Feb. 11 at the Berlin Film Festival, where Streep is serving as president of the all-white festival jury, she was asked by an Egyptian reporter about her thoughts on Arab and North African cinema. 

Streep admitted that she was unfamiliar with the regions, but added, "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,” Streep said, according to Variety. “We’re all Africans, we’re all Berliners.” 

Streep also commented on the fact that the festival jury was all-white. "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," Streep said, adding that she felt the festival "is ahead of the game."

Streep's comments have received criticism for seemingly equating the experiences of marginalized women with those of people of color.

It's possible, as Flavorwire writer Shane Barnes points out, that Streep's "We're Africans" comments may have been taken out of context. Streep may have been trying to channel John F. Kennedy's famous 1963 “Ich bin ein Berlinerspeech, expressing support for diversity and solidarity for the plight of black actors.

“We don’t consider Meryl Streep’s comments to be in any way insensitive,” a representative for the Berlin festival said in a statement to Variety.

“As she made it clear throughout the press conference, she is committed to inclusiveness of all ethnicities, religions and genders. She underlined that we are all the same, all equal.”

Watch Streep's full comments above. 

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