Tim Burton is ‘more offended’ by politically correct inclusion than lack of diversity


Tim Burton’s latest film, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, comes out today. It is a rare Tim Burton film featuring an actor of color in a somewhat lead role – while Eva Green plays Miss Peregrine, the would-be heroine of the piece, Samuel L. Jackson is the villain and his role is pretty major. Burton’s films are not known for being very diverse – Bustle points out that Burton has cast Billy Dee Williams and Michael Clarke Duncan in supporting roles in previous films, but for the most part, Burton’s oeuvre is a sea of white. Bustle asked Burton why that is, and what he thinks about the move towards more racially diverse casting in Hollywood:

“Nowadays, people are talking about it more,” he says regarding film diversity. But “things either call for things, or they don’t. I remember back when I was a child watching The Brady Bunch and they started to get all politically correct. Like, OK, let’s have an Asian child and a black. I used to get more offended by that than just… I grew up watching blaxploitation movies, right? And I said, that’s great. I didn’t go like, OK, there should be more white people in these movies.”

[From Bustle]

This reminds me of the case of sads I had after reading that Coen Brothers interview about diversity. As for this… I’m sorry, what? He’s offended by the “political correctness” of inclusion? He’s offended by the very idea that the Brady Bunch kids would interact with Asian children or black children? And he doesn’t even understand that the blaxploitation movies were the way black entertainers found a way to work when all of the mainstream white writers, directors and producers weren’t telling their stories? Burton is literally using the “reverse racism” argument – like, isn’t it sort of racist that those blaxploitation films didn’t have any white leads?!? And that really is his answer: “sure, Hollywood has always been focused on telling white stories with white actors 99.9% of the time but hey we don’t make you put white people in your independent blaxploitation films!”


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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150 Responses to “Tim Burton is ‘more offended’ by politically correct inclusion than lack of diversity”

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  1. Nicole says:

    Dear Tim Burton,
    Go f**k yourself.

    • Cherry says:

      “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

      He’s a rich, middle-aged white dude from a western European country. He’s as privileged as they come, but he doesn’t realize it. The only thing he feels is fear: fear of having to share his privilege with others who were always silent, but are starting to speak up now.
      It’s sad, but he’s not the only one who feels this way.

      • Redgrl says:

        Cherry – so true! And on a more frivolous note , I’m offended by his consistently lousy twee movies…

      • Bettyrose says:

        He’s American. Your point still stands, and I think he lives in London. But American born and raised.

      • Ariel says:

        I love that quote about equality. It is so true.
        A portion of American white men seem to be clinging to random things and begging we they get to keep it without the world’s interference.

        Also, it seems when white men bitch about the evils of “political correctness” what they are really saying is that they want to say sexist, racist things, and don’t want anyone to back talk them. They see others’ opinions as just that, a child’s back talk, it is beneath them, and they should not be questioned.

        Must be nice.

      • Aren says:

        A great phrase. The HeforShe campaign brought out the worse of the males in my university, I can see how that line applies to that situation as well.

      • popup says:

        Amazing quote.

      • Nn says:

        The thing though is, he is jewish. And grew up in a time where you would only see wasps as the cool ones and the jewish guys were the nerdy outcasts so you would think he and the Cohen Brothers would be more understanding but i guess not.

      • Soror Bro says:

        That quote is spot on. But whenever i see anyone achieve celebrity status I can’t help but wonder if they’ve come from a privileged background, because more often than not it seems to be a prerequisite for getting your foot in the door.

      • Flan says:

        @Cherry, well said.

        And is he some kind of idiot? It is just so ignorant to say something like this.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        That quote is so correct.

        Keep living in that delusional, privileged, racist bubble, Burton.

    • Diana says:

      Hey Nicole that’s not very PC of you.

      • Nicole says:

        Oops sorry.
        Dear Tim,
        Kindly find a stadium. Any one will do. Find a seat. Have the seat. And kindly shut up.


    • Babs says:

      Annnd another one bites the dust.

  2. minx says:

    Oh, shut up Tim.

  3. grabbyhands says:


    I used to really like you, Tim but I can’t with this. You sound like an assh*le. Seriously.

    Plus, most of your recent movies have absolutely sucked so I’m not looking forward to you ruining Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

    • Bettyrose says:

      I was bored by the book. I was surprised when I heard a movie was coming, but I’m sure I’ll catch it on Netflix someday.

    • whatthewhat says:

      i really enjoyed the books and i am appalled that he couldn’t simply keep the characters in tact. it is such a disappointment.

      • Chewbacca says:

        I really need a better explanation for why he switched Emma and Olive’s powers. I can’t think of any narrative reason that would justify that horse hockey.

  4. cr says:

    Oh Tim, this is just sad.

  5. LucyGoosey says:

    Either I’m a lot more tired than I actually am, or he doesn’t understand what he’s saying because all his claims make zero sense to me

    • dromedary says:

      Agreed. I think a lot of people who say this don’t understand the concept at all. Nor do they try to.

    • tealily says:

      I would like to think that he’s saying that it’s offensive to try to shoehorn characters into a film or television show just to be able to say you are being “inclusive,” when what you should really be doing is writing/casting in such a way that a greater cross-section of being are genuinely being represented… but he leave the second part of that statement so I think, in effect, he is saying nothing. Just that he sees no reason to cast minority actors/ he is a dick bag.

  6. Santia says:

    How disappointing. It’s very sad that his privilege doesn’t allow him to see how affirming that would be to children of color (who are “othered” every day) to see themselves included in a film such as this. Very sad.

  7. Lara K says:

    Things calling for things is a matter of perception.

    For example, if you are a racist blowhard, then movies call for a white cast.

    If you want to tell rich complex stories, then reflecting the real world even in fantasy stories becomes important.

    Diversity is not just for political correctness. It makes things better, more meaningful. I’m so tired of the PC Card.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Yay to “if you want to tell rich complex stories, then reflecting the real world even in fantasy stories becomes important.” You nailed it!

    • Fl girl says:

      Excellent post!

    • Exactly. How interesting is it that when given the chance to create worlds so many choose to make them as all white as possible?

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      This. That was the most revealing part of what he said (even though he’s not the first to make a comment like that)… as if it doesn’t occur to someone to put a poc in a role unless race is somehow relevant to the character in the story.

  8. lisa says:

    if he is talking about the episode where ken berry and his wife adopt 3 boys, 1 being asian and 1 being black, then he missed the point of the plot. #bradys4evah

  9. Patricia says:

    Yes, very disappointed in him.

    Although I have a strange complaint with PC inclusion and it’s this:
    We see on Tv more diversity and inclusion. But it’s mandated and it’s forced, and it’s not a reflection of true progress. If anything it tells us progress is being made when there is none. What has Trump’s campaign shown us? That we are knee deep in racism and woefully unevolved as a society. PC inclusion can lull us into thinking it’s all Ok when it’s NOT and there is a ton of WORK to be done.

    But I wouldn’t want to change the inclusion because kids especially need to see it. My half Hispanic son needs to see Hispanic kids on TV. My point is, until our actual society is inclusive we must not rest.

    • Jenna says:

      This is a little off-topic, but I completely agree. I was listening to a podcast last week where they were talking about all the non-white winners at the Emmys and how diverse and brilliant it is, and how it shows that we’re so enlightened now, and that Trump is so irrelevant in the modern era.

      And it’s like… Hollywood diversity isn’t real-world diversity. Don’t fool yourself into thinking we’re in the process of solving racism because The People vs OJ won a bunch of acting awards. Trump’s success and the reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement shows that we are still knee-deep in oppression, hatred and racism. It’s a very privileged white mindset, too, thinking we’re there. We’re so, so far away from it.

      On-topic, Burton is gross. But he’s besties with Depp, so should we really be surprised?

      • Panda says:

        Depp’s TV show 21 Jump Street was very diverse.

      • Aren says:

        It’s a way to justify the oppression. It’s like “you have a black president and you’ll have a female president, that means it’s all good and you have no right to complain or fight about anything else ever again”.

    • Jen says:

      The way Hollywood falls all over itself congratulating each other when there’s an award show or film or show that isn’t 100% white is so ridiculous, I agree.

    • Wren33 says:

      I see where he is coming from in one sense (although I doubt he meant it in this sense). Much of life is not equally integrated. To tell realistic, diverse stories, you may have settings that are mainly white, and settings that are mainly black. Nowadays we still have a long way to go, but there is a wider variety of stories being told. It is a lot better than simply sticking a black BFF into a storyline just as a form of tokenism. But what I don’t trust that he gets is that the power structure has been and continues to be white and male, and so white male stories are the only ones that get told and anyone else doesn’t have the support structure to make and push the more realistically black, gay, female viewpoints.

  10. mazzie says:

    Awesome. So glad I don’t watch his movies.

    • BritAfrica says:

      Is the only thing to say when one of these tossers open their mouth. Thank heavens I am not one of those who ever watch your infantile movies.

  11. Dyan says:

    Your comment reeks of white privileges, and it’s obvious you have no idea what affirmative action is and how it works.

    I’m British as well, and race is a big issue. We just don’t discuss it because people aren’t comfortable doing so. Doesn’t mean racism doesn’t exist, in some ways the race issue is worse here because we refuse to acknowledge it.

    Also considering Britain’s role in colonising more than half the world we damn well should be talking about it.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Canada has its own latent problems with racism, too, which I put down to the British aspect of its history. And yes, considering Britain’s role in colonizing more than half the world — and fostering the slave trade since the 1500s — yes we damn well should be talking about it.

    • Kitten says:

      Thank you. The US is awash in racism, but it’s not specific to our country, and it’s not just our problem. So tired of the “othering” from some Europeans when it comes to racism. As if black people just rose from American soil and weren’t brought to our land by ships sailing from EU countries.
      Hell, in late 18th/early 19the century British traders brought 1.5M African captives across the Atlantic and made almost $100M in profit. How can people just distance themselves from that? Pretty sure if your country got rich from trading slaves, then you don’t get to call it “America’s problem”. It’s part of your country’s history as well.

      So yeah any slave trade country had a hand in creating the issues we have in the US today. It’s not to place blame, just to say that these things don’t exist in a vacuum.

      Oh and Tim Burton can eat shit. But we know from his uninspired and interchangeable movies that he has no desire to grow or change, so I suppose his stance on diversity is to be expected.

      • Marty says:

        Also let’s not forget the horrendous colonization practices that occured in Canada, North America, Central and South America from various European countries.

      • Kitten says:

        Yes that too, Marty. The cognitive dissonance always astounds me.

      • Saks says:

        Yes, this. Their selective memory is astounding. For example the fact that the US invaded and took Mexican territories. Not every Mexican is there because of XX century immigration some hispanic families have been in those states since they were Mexico.

      • Just wanted to say I love the facts you stated Kitten, everyone wants to pretend their hands are clean when pretty much across the board it was a system of buying and selling humans unlucky enough to have lesser weapons and a different skin tone.

      • anon says:

        I agree with you. Hopwever, you need to also accept for the real and gruesome slave trade that happened before that. Namely, Barbary slave traders that kidnapped and sold around 1-3 Million Irish and other Caucasians to Africa. What is the recompense for that from African countries? Where is the acknowldgement?

      • jc126 says:

        anon, don’t hold your breath.

  12. Horror says:

    “a black”.


  13. ElleBee says:

    So Tim, how do you feel about Hollywood injecting White People into films that they aren’t needed? Like films about asian or african history where white folks weren’t present and certainly were not the heroes. The next person I hear say “Political Correctness”I’m going to hit with a brick. Seriously, just say you want to be an asshole without consequences becase that is what you really mean.

    • Aren says:

      Absolutely, that’s exactly what people complaining on PC really mean.

    • Sam says:

      “So Tim, how do you feel about Hollywood injecting White People into films that they aren’t needed?”

      Judging by his comments, Tim Burton also has a problem with this. Isn’t that the worst kind of white-washing? Films like “The Last Airbender” and “21” recast Asian characters, who ought to have been Asian, as white. The casting hurt these films.

      The other aspect to white washing is the choice of stories that get told. People now criticize filmmakers who make films with all-white casts (Tim Burton, the Coen brothers) or who tell stories about a white lead character who is a fish-out-of-water (Edward Zwick). Then these filmmakers respond by getting defensive because their films may be fine on the their own, and they write what they know.

      I think it is very much up for debate what responsibility the individual filmmaker has to create a body of work with diverse casts. Obviously the bigger problem is the industry, which is hesitant to finance stories with non-white casts or even non-white lead characters.

  14. Diana says:

    His movies have been sh*t in the last few of years anyway, so I won’t be checking this one out.

  15. Jessie says:

    He’s so freaking irrelevant anymore. He uses the same people in all his movies and is still in love with wife-beater Johnny Depp. Of course he would say something racist and completely nonsensical. He thinks he’s edgy but he’s old guard. There are SO MANY new directors telling wonderfully fresh stories and they manage to be inclusive and inventive and wonderful. They don’t have as much money as old Tim, but they will someday. And then he’ll just fade into the background with the rest of the old men who refuse to grow and educate themselves.

  16. Who ARE These People? says:

    May the careers of Tim Burton and fellow traveler Johnny Depp go down the ignominious sinkhole they both so richly deserve to enter.

    What I get out of this is:
    1. He’s against hiring black people and members of other minority groups because movies “don’t call for that.”
    2. Even as a child, he was uncomfortable seeing “other” types of children brought into a sitcom that was doing its cheesy best to explore changing social norms.

    If he thought they were being exploited, then all he has to do as a filmmaker today is cast with diversity and not be exploitative about it. It’s not that hard.

    • Tulip says:

      It’s so weird all of this coming from a man who, when he was first hired for Disney (back in the early 80s), made a film about Hansel and Gretel using asian actors. All I can think of is that he needs to go back to that sort of idea. In fact, he could win the public and still flip the finger at the studios by doing that. Because that’s another thing, he’s not the only one who should be talked about when it comes to hurtful exclusion-why are the studios who FINANCE all of these movies still giving the green light?

  17. Neelyo says:

    Tim Burton is an overrated art director. His films are flabby and besides visual flair he lacks any storytelling acumen. And his movies have all looked alike for years. I can’t believe people still refer to him as ‘visionary’. He’s a hack riding on the fumes of his former unwarranted glory.

    I’ll give him BATMAN RETURNS, that’s all.

  18. Naya says:

    Not surprised. This guy created a character with scissors for hands but can’t conceive of POC in almost all his movies. I read him years ago! Sam Jackson on the other hand is increasingly disappointing. He had no business anywhere near that racist as hell Tarzan film and his participation here is crappy too. Its bad enough that this director never uses POC, the fact that he cast the only one in this film as a villain should have been a red flag. Sam isn’t desperate for work plus he has enough clout to insist on more POC in the supporting cast but he just doesn’t seem to look beyond self these days.

    People beat up on Will and sometimes Denzel but thank God for them always looking at the broader impact of the roles they take, and not just the check.

    • Neelyo says:

      Disagree about Washington and Smith. Both of them homophobes, especially Smith.

      • Naya says:

        Firstly, I was OBVIOUSLY referring to the fact that they both belong to Sydney Poitiers school. Black actors have a responsibility to their community. Neither of them would ever touch Sams sell out films.

        Secondly, choosing not to kiss another man is not homophobia. And Wills support of his gender non conformist son may not be about homosexuality but it sure as hell marks him out as progressive and highly unlikely to be homophobic.

        Thirdly, Denzel starred in the biggest film (commercially and critically) to ever address homophobia and its impact on AIDS victims…..in the nineties. And Wills first real movie role is of a gay man. A lot of actors today – especially when their mainstay is action – still wont go near this type of material.

        Fourthly, i guess your problem is that Will went to Denzel for advice on the physicality of the role and Denzel advised against kissing scenes. Whats the context? Its the nineties, a black actors career prospects are already bleak, add to that the stigma that kissing another man on screen carried (and still kind of does) and it may have been a career ender. Knowing the politics of the day, would Will Smith have been allowed into the world of big budget action had footage of him kissing a man existed? The only guy I can think of from that period who may have had such a scene and still got invited to the action club was Keanu Reeves but we are having a debate here on whether he even kissed River. If he did it must have been chaste and completely unmemorable, because like it or not, such were the times. And again, Keanu wasnt up against the same Hollywood barriers as Will.

  19. Scal says:

    Look it’s a fantasy story with strange children from ALL OVER THE WORLD coming together. And apparently in this fantasy world everyone is white.

    Look, you don’t need to hire a POC and then make them into some wackadoo characture. Just change a couple of actors to be POC and then say nothing. Make it seem like it’s a normal everyday thing for the world to be diverse, because guess what? It is. I’ve never watched a TV show or movie and thought “My god-this is SO diverse. It’s distracting!” *insert eye roll here*

    • ElleBee says:

      I agree. If there were POC in this film no one would have batted an eyelid. In fact it would have made more sense to have children from all over the world look like they came from all over the world not just from the Caucasianist village in Caucasian Land.

      Is it just me or does this statement make anyone else side eye the choice of ONE poc as the villain?

  20. Deanne says:

    He finds inclusion offensive? That’s so f’d up. When people like him continue to be at the helm of these huge projects, it’s no surprise that Hollywood is still so lily white.

  21. marshmellow says:

    Tim Burton’s a hack anyway. His movies haven’t been good or genuinely weird in years.

    I hear the argument that “true artists” shouldn’t have to force themselves to include diverse characters because it hurts the creative process or some bs. And I can understand why certain films might want to focus on one particular culture, and therefore wouldn’t have a diverse cast.

    1. It’s a little problematic that the vast majority of stories focus on white Westerners. And the ones that don’t are usually not mainstream. Does that say something about “true artists” and their creative process? Or should more blame be put on the people who greenlight films or publish books?
    2. Hollywood has no problem casting white Westerners in places they don’t belong (see: Gods of Egypt), yet is hesitant to cast minorities even if it would make sense.
    3. All of this leads to dearth of work opportunities for minorities in Hollywood, which a lot of the anti-diversity proponents seem to forget.

  22. G says:

    Johnny Depp isn’t needed in at least half of the films Burton makes and he still insists on shoving the same Depp acting performance into his movies anyway. So I don’t see why we think the opinion of this dude is necessary when he hasn’t had an imaginative movie out in at least a decade. Stop talking Burton. I can’t wait til he isn’t a thing anymore so we can get better talent in to make movies with better casts and actually interesting ideas. We’re never going to get any of that from weirdo-McDisneyMoney.

    Also, “a black.” Yikes.

  23. Insomniac says:

    Sigh. So are there any older white directors who *aren’t* backwards idiots about this topic?

  24. Marty says:

    Not surprised. The lengths these cis white men will go to defend their privilege, now that’s what astounds me.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      We can see it writ large in the 2016 US election campaign and the actions of the US Congress since 2008.

  25. PlaidSheets says:

    And with that, we will no longer see the movie. I didn’t look forward to taking my daughter, but will not. However, I will also let her know why. It’s important for her to build a consciousness about the world so that she sees the boundaries that she is going to have to break.

    • Shannon1972 says:

      There are hundreds of people who worked on this movie…I think you should still go and enjoy it together with your daughter. My son and I loved the book, and have been looking forward to the movie. Tim burton being an a-hole isn’t a reason to pass up quality time with my son. We can just focus on the amazing actors and the hundreds of people who worked behind the scenes.

      • Aren says:

        Shall we start promoting Woody Allen films too just because a lot of people worked in them?

      • If you want to go then you should go but PlaidSheets brings up a good idea.

        I didn’t take my brothers to go see Pan and I told them why, if movies are going to go out of their way to pretend minority children don’t exist then I see no purpose in funding them with my dirty minority money. That way it’s all fair and even.

        If we keep making excuses for why we’re supporting injustice then we can’t complain when injustice keeps rolling on ahead fueled by our dollars.

      • PlaidSheets says:

        I appreciate your view, but there are plenty of movies out this weekend for us to enjoy together. I’m not going to support a movie that has magical children yet the director believes that a black child is a bridge too far. That’s not the message that I want her to receive. Kids internalize things more than you think.

      • Shannon1972 says:

        @Aren…the short answer is no. It’s not the same thing – Woody Allen has a long and problematic past that has been extremely well publicized. He’s a paedophile, a criminal, not an ignorant idiot. I think anyone who still supports him at this point has no excuse to hide behind.

        @ SideEye and Plaidsheets: However, I still think it’s unfair to boycott this movie *after* Burton said some extremely ignorant things in the press. If he continues in this vein, and learns nothing from the public reaction to his comments, then I will choose not to support him in the future with my money. I am wondering though, which characters in this book have been made white when they were not originally? I get Pan completely – Tiger Lily was Native American…the casting was egregious. (We sat that movie out as well.) But I’m not seeing it in this movie beyond Tim Burton’s stupidity. I ask respectfully – what am I missing here?

        I have three sons – one about to leave for college, so I’m aware of how much they absorb. They immediately noticed the absurdity of Dallas Bryce Howard running in high heels during Jurassic World. Commented on it all the way home – I was pretty proud of them. Sheepishly, I didn’t notice it myself, because I’m used to women being in absurd film situations. Don’t we all run from dinosaurs in high heels? However, with so little joy in this world right now, I’m looking forward to spending quality time with them at this film, about a book we all enjoyed…and then discussing it afterwards. I’m lucky – our town is very racially diverse, and my kids are half-Jewish, so they are already sensitive to issues of discrimination and inequality.

      • Nn says:

        Kids internalize things more than you think.

        And the one black person in the movie happens to be the bad guy. All the innocent kids are white and the evil one is black. Ugh.

      • PlaidSheets says:

        You have this wonderful, fanciful world where the director has just slapped her hand and said ‘this is not for you because your skin color doesn’t fit in my vision’. No, I’m not buying into that and I’m not giving him my money. He may change over time after seeing the backlash- if he cares. Why am I tasked with giving him the benefit of the doubt? Earn my patronage back and you can have it. He’s words were quite clear. Money or not, I am responsible for the messages my child consumes- even for free I wouldn’t support him. ‘Blacks’ only fit as a villain? Nope.
        I hope that clarifies why I will hold the boycott.

      • PaschaP says:

        @The Eternal Side-Eye ITA re Pan. I was already disturbed at the casting of Rooney Mara, but seeing this clip of her (at an official press conference for the film) explaining why she took the role… it’s just inexcusable.


  26. The Spiral says:

    Tim’s filmmaking has been mostly boring, lazy and one-note for about a decade now. A little diversity would probably boost his creativity if anything. But nooo, let’s just cast Depp to mug and chew scenery again in another bad wig.

    And why is it “offensive” that a family with six kids might interact with a non-white child at some point? Jesus dude.

    • Obrihye says:

      It’s been almost 5 years since the last time Depp appeared in a Burton-directed film..

  27. Frosty says:

    Thanks, Tim, for justifying my generally low opinion of filmmakers and movie stars. and “the industry.” He works in a collaborative form to make entertainment for the masses, who are no longer lily white. Get over yourself.

  28. I Choose Me says:

    Yeah, I’m not shocked at his comments. Add him to the pile of clueless privileged white males who just don’t get it and won’t even try to because they’re too busy defending their position. Seriously, asshats like him remind me of a toddler going waaah, I don’t wanna share my toys and you can’t make me.

  29. Melody says:

    Tim and anyone who screws around on HBC can GFO – this is yet another reason he can do so.

    Anyone else wondering if Green is his new HBC? She really seems his type.

  30. Abbess Tansy says:

    I’m more offended by his lack of quality films. He doesn’t get it and he never will. He’s the type that will double down on his feelings (like the Trump supporters) so I don’t expect any change from Burton.

  31. NeoCleo says:

    WHAT a shmuck.

  32. Evil Queen says:

    So sad to lose TB as source of inspiration. His movies have been sucking for some time now. And between this and Depp I am done. This book was a promising premise that missed its mark for me. But the plot screams Burton. I hope he falls on his lily white privileged ass.

  33. Claudia says:

    I don’t understand why people keep bringing Depp up in every conversation. I understand that these past years Tim Burton has cast Johnny Depp in several of his movies. But, jeez everytime I read about a topic somebody mentions Depp. It’s like bringing Trump and Hillary Clinton up everytime to make point.
    To me the point of this post is Tim Burton’s racism. I am black and it dissapoints me, but doesn’t surprise me that white or even black people dismiss racism against minorities as pc. I am 18 and have often been the victim of indirect racism. From the age of 5 till 12 I thought I was being too sensitive and suffered emotionally and academically for not being “stronger” . I’m not trying to condemn anyone and will gladly discuss with anyone that thinks I’m wrong. Ps. English is my third language, sorry if your eyes twitch because of my mistakes.

    • Nina says:

      Your English is terrific, Claudia! You should never blame yourself for other people’s ignorance. Good on you for realizing that at such a young age. I’m almost 30, and still have trouble standing up for myself most of the time. 🙂

      It’s sad that calling out others on topics of racism/sexism/homophobia is viewed by so many as being “too PC”. There’s a difference between being offended by every minor thing, and being offended because someone’s a blatant dick.

      • Claudia says:

        Thank you Nina. I am glad you’re learning to stand up for yourself. I remeber being confused when I started to stand up for myself against racist jokes and people in the sixth grade thought I was mean since they always knew me to be passive. I still have much to learn. I agree with you, a lot people who are privileged don’t recognize discrimination because of ignorance. I don’t fault the ones who will listen and learn from a different perspective. Ignorance is only a crime if you won’t try to learn from a different perspective. Have a nice day Nina! 🙂

    • Sparkly says:

      Because douches of a feather suck together.

  34. Shannon1972 says:

    I actually had to read his comments through my fingers, which were covering my eyes, as I shook my head in disappointment at yet another tone deaf Hollywood type spouting off…again. I’ve learned so much here from the comments, that this kind of second hand embarrassment has become ingrained in me. I feel like I want to apologize for the existence of these people.

    A bit OT: Gossip is really no fun anymore. Almost every story, these days, just makes me sad or cringe.

  35. Nina says:

    The ’90s Disney Channel series “Adventures in Wonderland” was way better than this ignorant hack’s takes on the source material. Plus it featured THREE people of colour in main roles, and one more in a recurring role. Diversity, Tim! It’s not that hard!

    • Kori says:

      Going back to the 1985 miniseries (which I loved as a kid) even THEN they had more people of color–Sherman Helmsley, Pat Morita and Sammy Davis Jr (The Caterpillar)–then Burton. I’ve liked a couple of his movies but overall I’ve always thought he was overrated. And his last decade or so has been kind of crappy IMO.

  36. KL says:

    Cue “My remarks were taken out of context…” non-apology in 3..2..1…

    If what he’s attempting (poorly) to say is that he objects to tokenism, fine. But couching it as whether a piece of art “calling for” diversity is so gross.

  37. eggy weggs says:

    All style, no substance. He hasn’t been entertaining since “Ed Wood” and “Mars Attacks.” I shouldn’t say that: I quit on him after “Planet of the Apes,” but really, do I need more proof?

    Good on for Bustle for asking.

  38. Margo S. says:

    Kaiser!!! I totally agree with you. I legit am sad after reading that. Burton, you d!ck head. Now I don’t like you… such a shame.

  39. annaloo. says:

    I’m disappointed in his answers. To me, Burton epitomized the outsider who had so much to give and was misunderstood by society. I appreciated his embrace of a non beauty standard,t he modern, and that he romanticized the darker parts of life… I’m just surprised he isn’t able to have the imagination to see beyond the status quo. This is Tim Burton, but he sounds like Woody Allen or Gwyneth Paltrow or Clint Eastwood justifying the bubble they live in, and trying to exonerate their lack of empathy and understanding of people different from them: they’re basically saying “I just don’t mix with those people.”

    • Deering says:

      See, Burton is _so_ typical of what happens when outsiders who are conservative down deep become the establishment. They often become as hidebound and excluding as the people they supplant. (Hell, some of the most woman-hating racist folks are tech guys/media fan boys–and you would think they’d be more open.) No matter how much these guys accomplish, they still hate themselves–and they will always take that out on others unless they get a major reality-slap-upside-the-head.

  40. QQ says:

    Hi Sir.. You’re Cancelled, F*ck these white dudes resentful that they aren’t First Second and Third Forever

  41. Kori says:

    My 21 year old is deep into her college experience and very in tune with and concerned about issues involving those who have been marginalized and ignored. She also loves Tim Burton. So to keep her worlds from colliding and imploding, I am going to keep this interview from her. She’ll have enough disillusionment as she grows up without adding to it too quickly.

    • wat says:

      Your daughter is old enough, coddling is pointless.

    • Chewbacca says:

      I think 21 is old enough to handle knowing that Tim Burton lacks the imagination necessary to picture non Caucasian children with superpowers.

  42. Mia4S says:

    This may be a different way to look at this issue but I think it needs to be said: you can type out disappointed comments and Twitter trends all day and as long as the movie makes money this weekend …no one cares. Burton and his producers least of all. And it will make money. Burton is not going to change.

    Also opening wider this weekend? Queen of Katwe. Lupita and David Oyelowo. Great reviews. And it did horribly in its limited release. Bad. If it continues at the level it performed it will be a failure.

    What can you do about Burton? Nothing really. What you can do is throw your money to diverse projects so they keep getting made! And those film makers who embrace diversity rise to that A level.

    • Sam says:

      Yes! Queen of Katwe is the true story of a Ugandan girl from a poor slum who became a chess master. The best way to support films about black and female characters is to buy tickets to those films. Or at least to the good ones.

  43. I’m more shocked when someone isn’t ignorant and racist these days and THAT’S saying something.

  44. LittleTeaPot says:

    I’m not sure, but I think he was trying to say that he chooses actors that he considers the best man/woman for the job. He doesn’t like to cast with tokenism in mind to fill some type of quota. That’s all I got. Don’t yell at me — I’m just trying to figure out what he was really saying.

    • Deering says:

      Oh, fuck that noise. Why is it people swear up and down everything is a meritocracy and judged on quality…but have a thousand excuses to do crap like GODS OF EGYPT or BEN-HUR. Quality is the excuse people like Burton use to keep being the only ones with the power to run Hollywood–and shape dreams. It’s not about who’s good or even who makes money–it’s about the power to decide who gets to work and who gets society’s rewards. And those folks are still mostly white because folks like Burton don’t want to see it any other way.

    • Chewbacca says:

      Funny how the best person for the job is always white…

  45. Tom says:

    37 year old white guy from Denmark chiming in. I get where he is coming from. If movies calls for people of color, put people of color in them. If they don’t, don’t. Simple as that.

    Didn’t you think it was odd when Heimdahl was depicted as Black? In Denmark we where kinda shaking our heads (he is very famous here, you know we worshipped him for 1000 years or so)

    Stories are as stories are. And tell the stories with the people you think fits them. Which story could have had an actor of color which didn’t. And why did you believe it needed one? Is that a better way to phrase it. Southpark said it really well with token “There weren’t really any black people here when we grew up, but people seems to think we should invent one.” So they invented Token.

    If you want people of color in movies. Tell their stories and go see them. The reason why there aren’t many black leading men or woman is because Americans don’t go see movies they are heading .They are less bankable.

    Adding a black friend or sidekick is as Burton says, to appease people. And in my eyes, some times, even worse than not having any color at all.

    • Macheath says:

      I was under the impression that the Thor character was based on the comic book where he is black. At least that’s what I heard anyway…

      Also, it’s problematic and bizarre to posit that the only time PoCs should be cast is when they are specifically requested. An extraordinarily peculiar position to take.

      Non-White people are not a recent invention and in fact make up the vast majority of the world’s population. Doesn’t Burton also live in London? My city. It’s one of the most diverse places on the face of the planet. You’d have to purposely and very, very actively live in a tiny bubble to not be exposed to that, if it’s even possible.

      The human experience is the human experience. Can I ask you why you don’t think a PoC should be included as a character (even if not explicitly written into the story), if your position is that stories are just stories?

      Skin colour is a strange factor to consider when white people from different European countries can be vastly culturally and historically different from each even if they share a similar skin colour. It’s ike saying unless a character is written as Danish, he should not be cast as an American. What do Danes and Americans have in common after all, more so than black and white Americans?

      Like I said, very peculiar position and reasoning.

      • Macheath says:

        The more I think about it, the more despondent I feel about Tom’s comment.
        I’ve heard it so many times: that the best people for the roles were cast in a story and and they all happened to be white (usually male) even if the story has no bearing on nationality or skin colour. Usually with a caveat that PoC films just don’t sell anyway (I dislike this argument so much: usually said by people who do not watch those movies even if the story is fantastic and thus make it not bankable).
        It sad but I see it so often.
        So I ask Tom and people with his mentally, are your favourite movies your favourite simply because the actors were the same ethnicity as you or was it genuinely the story alone? I bet you probably wouldn’t have even bothered to see it even if you claim a story is just a story if non-white people were the leads.
        If a classic and beloved film, like say Star Wars was originally full of PoCs as the lead actors, would it have been considered a classic or ignored and used as an example of PoC films not being bankable? Even a story about aliens fighting an evil intergalactic warlord with glow sticks. Where is the logic?
        If the reason crappy Mark Walberg films make money down to his being white then surely that is a problem. Am I crazy?
        If your reason for watching a film and thus making it bankable is purely on racial lines and you’ve somehow conducted enough mental gymnastics to convince yourself that the best actors are all white and make more money then frankly you are the problem.


    • Guesto says:

      @Tom – I also get where he’s coming from and appreciate your comment. The same way I appreciated the Coen Bros comments on the same issue and which also generated a ragestorm.

    • Pinta says:

      Right Tom, and I’m sure the South Park guys had a friend who got killed in different strange ways every day, but always came back alive the next day. South Park is very realistic and true to life, of course.

      It’s just like in Game of Thrones, when the show runners claim they need a lot of rape to be “realistic,” yet have no problems with flying dragons. Oh yes, it’s really all about the realism.


      White men want to see themselves depicted as handsome heroes. Historically accurate or not. They want to see men of color as beaten enemies, or humble servants, or animal-like bodies. Historically accurate or not. They want to see women as sexy, cooperative collections of body parts, nurturers, or tortured and dead. Historically accurate or not.

      That’s all well and good but THE REST of us have seen way more than enough of that, we are bored of it and ready for something else. And we vastly outnumber white men, and are gaining in power every day.

      • Carol says:

        OMG I feel like I am the only one who HATES Game of Thrones. Its a poorly written and cliche excuse for a fantasy kinda tv show, and it has unnecessary rape everywhere.

    • wat says:

      Movies starring minorities are not less profitable, that’s a tried and proven untrue cop-out.
      “Tell the stories of poc” you say, that’s not possible when movies with poc don’t receive funding.
      Denmark has a sizable number of people of colour, and yet in your esteemed scandinavian dramas there is nary a p.o.c in sight, why is that? No stories there?
      People are denied representation, out of laziness and ignorance. You don’t think there are other stories to tell then those of white men in a mid-life crisis?

      Auf Wiedersehen.

      • Tom says:

        wat? How are you reading that from my comment. I watch greek, Italien, swedish, danish, and movies from all over the world. Because they are given wide releases in Danish Cinemas (or you know.. we don’t have that many Cinemas)

        If any of you read into my comment that “Tom likes movies with white people in them”, then you are sadly mistaken.

        I am trying to reason why Hollywood does not bankroll diverse movies. And in all likelyhood it is because you, the American public is not going to see them. Hollywood is a business. Nothing more, nothing less. And a very calculated one at that.

        I couldn’t care less what color you are or whether you identifies as a toaster. If you are a nice person then we are good. And if you have a story tell, and that story be about other people identifying as toasters, I sure as s*** wouldn’t want you to cast “non toaster people” in it just to make some dude say “This movies is all toasters!”

        Do you get what I am saying? (not sure Danish translates very well here ..)

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        ” I watch greek, Italien, swedish, danish, and movies from all over the world.”

        I cannot speak for the others, but I am Italian… tell me, how many Italian films can you name where one of the main characters is black?
        Unless you think black people don’t exist in Italy (a big percentage of the last 3-4 millions of immigrants who arrived in the last 20 years is formed by POC).

        Or maybe.. do you think that Italians are a ‘minority’? LOL

    • Nn says:

      “The reason why there aren’t many black leading men or woman is because Americans don’t go see movies they are heading .They are less bankable.”

      This is actually not true.
      The biggest selling movies in the past years have been diverse or black main cast.
      And most white lead movies have been bomb after bomb the past years but they still keep making them.
      And its ok to make historical non white people white, exodus, gods of Egypt etc but to make heimdahl black like in the comics is wrong??

      • Tom says:

        I don’t think it’s ok to cast anyone as anything other than what they are. I have never said anything which would lead you to conclude otherwise.

    • Sam says:

      “Didn’t you think it was odd when Heimdahl was depicted as Black?”

      I assume that casting choice was made to avoid the movie being co-opted by neo-Nazis obsessed with Nordic mythology. Sometimes casting choices are made in an attempt to appeal to audience segments. In this case, Marvel avoided inevitable controversy had all of the gods had fit the Aryan stereotype.

    • frosty says:

      @Tom I can understand your bemusement at Idris Elba being cast as Heimdal. I was similarly disconcerted when white actors were cast in roles about black and brown real or fictional people. Hud, World Trade Center, A Mighty Heart, The Human Stain, Pay It Forward. Et cetera. Not to mention any movie about ancient Egyptians or American Indians. And that whole blackface thing.
      I’m being sarcastic also to make the point that lack diversity — and oh how I’ve come to dislike that word — in movies has not been a bug, Tom. It is a *feature.” The system is run by people who are mostly white males, and they like to see themselves as protagonists, even when it is wildly inappropriate.
      But getting back to Heimdahl, I imagine Elba’s casting isn’t simply to make “minority” audiences in the U.S. feel included, it also goes to the wider reality of a worldwide audience that is not Anglo, white, etc.

    • Deering says:

      Bankable, Tom? Funny thing about that. That same excuse was used back in the day to keep black actors from doing anything but maids or comic relief. When actors like Sidney Poitier broke through, the excuse was “Well, he’s a non-recurring phenomenon–white audiences don’t want to see more black leads.” When Denzel and Smith disproved that, the excuse became, “Yeah, but global audiences don’t go to black movies.” In short, the goalpost is always getting raised everytime bullshit excuses like bankabilty and so-called quality get raised.

    • Chewbacca says:

      Not as odd as Laufey being gender bended since that had an actual effect on Loki’s story as a whole. In the original version of the story, he’s half asgardian half joten (Odin is his real father in the prose edda and Laufey is his MOTHER), which would perfectly explain why he can switch back and forth appearance wise. Now he just has some vague unnamed birth defect. In the stories, Heimdahl and Sif are siblings, him being black doesn’t mean that can’t still be true.

  46. Elaine says:

    Sigh. Well, now we have our answer.

    Filmmakers weren’t putting black people in their movies, because they didn’t want to put black people in their movies.



  47. BearcatLawyer says:

    I am the product of an interracial marriage and in my 40s. My mother is half-Indian (India, not indigenous) and half-Chinese from British Guyana, and my father is a Canadian of Scotch-Irish descent. My brother and I were born and raised in Texas at a time when interracial marriages were extremely rare. In fact, the only Asian-white marriages that many Texans were remotely familiar with were military veteran man-Asian (Japanese/Korean/Vietnamese) woman marriages, and those were uncommon in our corner of the Lone Star State. To make matters even more complicated, my brother and I did not resemble each other at all. He has always looked “white” and is tall like my father’s family while I took after my mother’s side and am small and more Asian in appearance. Add to that the fact that my parents met both worked full-time and with computers, no less, and well, our family was a source of equal parts fascination and suspicion. My parents did not completely shelter my brother and me from bigotry and ignorance (I figured out early on that I would NEVER be invited to certain classmates’ birthday parties or homes), and I remember them respectfully but forcefully confronting overt displays of racism or xenophobia and encouraging my brother and me to do the same.

    My parents have friends of all different races and ethnic origins on literally every continent except Antarctica. I probably was 10 or 11 before I realized that this too was far from typical for many Americans. One memory that sticks out in my mind happened on my class trip to Washington, D.C., in sixth grade. My black Trinidadian godparents who lived nearby in Maryland joined our group for supper one night, and several parents who were chaperoning were visibly shocked to see me hug and kiss them and call them “Auntie” and “Uncle.” I guess it had never occurred to them that my godparents might be black, and I know my parents never bothered to mention their race to my teachers when they sought permission for my godparents to join us for supper. I imagine some of these folks were even more stunned when they learned my godfather was a professor and my godmother worked for the World Bank. Again, even in the 1980s many Americans simply never encountered minorities with more education than they themselves had and in positions of authority and prominence.

    Growing up, I would have LOVED to have seen someone, ANYONE, who was remotely like my family or me in a movie, cartoon, or TV show. Even today, with interracial marriages being far more common and largely accepted, I am still amazed at how rarely interracial families and particularly children are seen in the media and in popular culture. Certainly it is extremely unusual to see anyone like me who is my age or older in a movie or on TV. Ann Curry is one of the few names that pops into my head right now…and well, we all saw what happened to her at NBC.

    So to hear Tim Burton essentially say IN 2016 inclusion is “politically correct” (as opposed to NORMAL for some people – LIKE ME) and that a lack of diversity is simply the end product of the stories he and most of Hollywood CHOOSE to tell is appalling and heartbreaking. At the same time, based on my 40+ years of life experience in overwhelmingly white environments, I cannot say I sincerely expected someone like him to say anything different. What Hollywood seems to never learn though is that while people’s external appearances and daily lives may vary widely, there are many, many, many common themes throughout the human experience, e.g., coming of age, finding love, overcoming great challenges. Perhaps in the future more directors and studios will realize that reflecting a broad cross-spectrum of people and telling their stories have value, especially to people like me. But I am not holding my breath.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      Fantastic post and agree with all your sentiments about the general situation.

    • Mae says:

      Great comment, super agree. Stories are a way to process emotions and examine our and other’s realities, so of course representation matters (especially for kids). It strikes me as being a bit on the incompetent side for a storyteller (Tim) to miss this. (Along with all the other problematic aspects.) Not surprised either, though.

  48. Sparkly says:

    That’s extremely disgusting. Well, his movies have been getting crappier and crappier, so I’ve no qualms about no longer supporting him. He and Depp can skip off into the sunset, stroking each others’ egos.

  49. Nn says:

    Correct me if i am wrong, but in the book, are the children not coming from all over the world to join the other children in wales?
    And speaking of Wales, i cant help but think of dame shirley bassey.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      Maybe he thinks in terms of Brexit Britain already… forinners are bad!

    • Sam says:

      My understanding is that the children are refugees from the war in Europe. The author found a bunch of old creepy photographs of children and put them into the book. The children in the photos look white.

  50. Alldamnday says:

    I love these types of comments in regards to FICTIONAL movies. Actors are portraying characters, not real people, why can’t a telepath be Asian, why can’t a pyrokenetic be black. Even historical characters can be played against race, and if it’s good, it will make money – check the cast of Hamilton.

  51. sunshine gold says:

    Out. Of. Touch.

  52. LinaLamont says:

    My 2cents:
    1.  @ Nn
    I believe Burton was raised as a Protestant.

    2.   I understand the PC token aversion. I hate(d) it, too. It is/was patronizing and insulting. However, if it bothered him that much, why didn’t he try to redress the problem when he achieved a powerful position? I understand that some parts call for specific races/looks/whatever. You don’t cast a white, Asian or Latina woman as Harriet Tubman, but, I just don’t see his films, for the mostpart, as being so race-specific. It, apparently, didn’t bother him because he saw it as an insult to non-whites; it offended his white sensibilities/aesthetics.

    I, honestly, believe that if you have strong writing, acting and directing, anyone one of any race can fill a role and be believable in almost any scenario. It might be jarring at first glance, but, if the movie is good enough, the audience will soon forget about the actor and see the character. Theatre does this all the time. I’ve seen plenty of Shakespeare with all races and ethnicities mixing it up. No-one blinks an eye. No-one disbelieves. In this day and age, it looks so strange NOT to have diversity. At least in my city, that’s not realistic. I don’t think NYC is an anomaly.

    3.   “And he doesn’t even understand that the blaxploitation movies were the way black entertainers found a way to work when all of the mainstream white writers, directors and producers weren’t telling their stories?”

    He’s old enough and, I assumed, intelligent enough to understand the above statement to be true.  Maybe, he’s really that stupid?

    4.   I despise the term “reverse racism”. No-one holds a patent on racism.

    He’s a jerk.