Elizabeth Banks apologizes for her huge Spielberg/The Color Purple mistake

Women In Film 2017 Crystal + Lucy Awards® presented by Max Mara and BMW

As we discussed yesterday, Elizabeth Banks stepped in dog poo. It was quite public too. Banks received as award at the Crystal + Lucy Awards on Tuesday night. During her speech, she tried to make a point about how it’s not enough to get more women directing more films, that we need to tell male directors that they too can tell women’s stories, or stories with big roles for women. The problem, of course, was that she cited Steven Spielberg as an example of a director who has “never made a movie with a female lead.” While Spielberg – arguably the most popular and beloved director in Hollywood – has a history of making films with majority-male casts, he is perhaps not the best example because A) he actually has a history of racial and gender inclusion throughout his filmography, just not in the lead roles and B) The Color Purple.

Apparently, as soon as Banks said that in her speech on Tuesday, people in the audience shouted “The Color Purple.” One of those people was actress Shari Belafonte. According to THR, Banks seemingly dismissed Belafonte specifically, thinking that Spielberg only produced (not directed) The Color Purple. Anyway, after being dragged on Twitter all day yesterday, Banks issued an apology:

I messed up. When referring to Steven Spielberg at the Women In Film Awards, I framed my comments about his films inaccurately. I want to be clear from the start that I take full responsibility for what I said and I’m sorry. When I made the comments, I was thinking of recent films Steven directed, it was not my intention to dismiss the import of the iconic #TheColorPurple. I made things worse by giving the impression that I was dismissing Shari Belafonte when she attempted to correct me. I spoke with Shari backstage and she was kind enough to forgive me. Those who have the privilege and honor of directing and producing films should be held to account for our mistakes, whether it’s about diversity or inaccurate statements. I’m very sorry,”

[Via Banks’ tweet]

Do you accept her apology or nah? I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Banks and I understood the original point of her speech, I just think she should have used different language – as in, acknowledging that Spielberg has made important films with women but he could still do better, which is the truth – or just used a different example. It’s not like there aren’t a million examples of male directors who only tell stories about dudes. As for Banks being dragged on Twitter – she deserved it, she apologized and I believe she’s sincere. I’m sure some people will find her dismissive in general and that’s up to them. I’m not saying she “deserves to be forgiven” or whatever. I’m just saying that I personally find her to be sincere, and I believe that she’s genuinely horrified with her mistake and with how this went down.

Spielberg hasn’t said anything about this, and when THR reached out, his rep said Spielberg is busy shooting his latest film, The Papers, which incidentally has a woman in the lead role: Meryl Streep is playing Katherine Graham, the first female newspaper publisher (she was the longtime publisher of the Washington Post).

Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards - Arrivals

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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118 Responses to “Elizabeth Banks apologizes for her huge Spielberg/The Color Purple mistake”

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  1. Singtress says:

    A legitimate (albeit) bone-headed screw up.
    I like her.
    She usually tries to do the right thing and support those who need support.

    • DeniseMich says:

      he has a woman lead a movie every 30 years. where is the screw up?

      every 30 years is like almost never.

      • Neo says:

        She could have fact-checked before she spoke. I mean, we live in the age of so called fake news. It’s on all of us to speak intelligently from a place of secure knowledge, not simply state our feelings as fact. She’s undermined her own point here. I wish her apology was longer, more self reflective, and much more informative. I mean, you’re apologizing for getting the facts wrong. This is your opportunity to get them right, in detail, and make a long, persuasive argument.

      • Carla says:

        Right on

    • Grant says:

      She was giving an off the cuff speech, not a lecture on Film Studies in the 20th Century. I don’t really understand the backlash.

      • BB says:

        She shouldn’t have apologized.

      • ORIGINAL T.C. says:

        An off the cuff remark where she accused another person of something that is not true. An off the cuff remark that can be found EVERYWHERE now. I’m sure you too would shrug that off if it happened to you. And again the biggest problem with her off the cuff remark is that it ignored WOC’s contributions. We keep saying it yet getting ignored. Feminism is equal treatment of ALL women, not just White women.

      • Magnoliarose says:

        Sure she should have. She accused Spielberg of something that wasn’t true. When you get a fact wrong you should correct it and apologize.

      • Tiff says:

        She didn’t accuse Spielberg of anything, she was just pointing out that he doesn’t make movies that star female characters. One movie out of scores doesn’t change the truth of her statement. Missing the forest for the trees here, dear.

  2. TheOtherOne says:

    Forgiven. I personally like her. She made a mistake & owned it. At some point – we have to accept sincere apologies. I’ll start with this one.

    Happy Friday, everyone. I’m in a surprisingly good mood – maybe because Trump is going down faster than I could have imagined. #Winning

  3. Ainsley says:

    I really like her. I do not, however, like that hair colour or make up combo on her.

    • CityGirl says:

      LOL my thoughts exactly!

    • minx says:

      I like her too, she seems like a good person. But oh dear god that hair is hideous, the makeup is too dark, and the dress is ugly.

    • G says:

      The hair is terrible! She’s gorgeous and funny and I like her, but she looks sickly in these photos. Also: good Lord, am I sick of celebrities having to issue formal apologies for anything and everything. If you ‘accidentally’ say something racist/homophobic/misogynistic then yes, eat some humble pie. But she gets a fact wrong and has to grovel for the internet?

  4. Honey says:

    That’s what happens when you blurt out and blame about something important like this without thinking. It’s good that she admitted to and apologized for her mistake

    • cherrypie says:

      Yes, she could have made her point perfectly without the name calling thats what got her into this mess and so her point got a bit lost. Seemingly sincere apology from her tho

  5. Ninks says:

    So she forgot one movie, out of dozens over a thirty year career, that starred a woman. She was making a broader point that needed to be said, and because she erred, the point of her argument has been ignored. It’s a shame. Spielberg is a massive influential director and producer who could have given more opportunities to women working in the industry. Producers and production companies who hire inexperienced male directors and don’t give the same opportunities to female directors need to hear what Banks is saying and do better.

    • Kate says:

      I think people went after her because her comments are part of a larger trend, because white women forgetting that woc are also women is painfully frequent. And it’s a bit strange to forget this movie of all Spielberg movies. It was nominated for 11 oscars after all and successful at the box-office.

      • Anna says:


      • godwina says:

        I’m a lifelong film geek who used to work as a paid film reviewer and essayist and yet I had totally blanked on who directed “Oprah’s” tCP (in my mind) until this week. I’m not a huge Spielberg fan (he got too schmaltzy for my taste after Duel and Jaws) or fan of sentimental Hollywood Oscar bait in general, so that could have something to do with it. Surely I’m not alone.

    • heather says:

      I think the Color Purple opened the door for more stories about both black culture and women’s stories in the mainstream, because it did so well at the box office. It was actually a huge risk for someone known for making box office candy and sci-fi primarily.

      • Ramona says:

        Not just this but from The Color Purple flowed the careers of bunch of women including Oprah and Whoopi. Whoopi was an obscure standup comic when he cast her but it turned her into a huge star. White women and young people have zero idea what that woman accomplished but in the 80s and early 90s she was the marquee name on a bunch of successful smart action comedies such as Jumpin Jack Flash and Eddie. It was her face alone on the posters and these were not movies out of “black Hollywood” but from the mainstream white producers. By the early 90s she had amassed so much clout she got Sarafina made (a musical starring a South African girl in apartheid South Africa). And then came the Sister Act movies. Oprah owns a friggin TV network now. That movie would be great if it hadnt done everything you wrote but it is made greater by the fact that it provided a stepping stone to greatness.

        How on earth Elizabeth “fearless feminist” Banks was unaware who made this movie is bizarre, until you remember that white feminists have ZERO interest in the struggles of other women. I bet you she can recite the careers of every director to take a risk for a white actress. Because just like WHITE MALE power players everything comes down to whether she herself personally can see herself in the part.

        All the white women scrambling to “forgive her” need to sit down, she didnt cross you so you dont get the privilege to forgive her. Me personally, when a white feminist shows her colors, I run to google to search for any evidence of support for WOC and when I inevitably see none, I dismiss her ass.

      • QQ says:

        Now… you KNOW how on earth my dearest Ramona… YOU KNOW.. you read the comments here, you are familiar with Lena.. this isn’t so much a bug as it is a feature

      • Ennie says:

        Ramona +1

      • Kate says:

        I truly wonder how many of the commenters forgiving her are black women.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “White feminists have ZERO interest in the struggles of other women”

        This is so sad to read, but it is completely understandable. I’m white and my feminism is intersectional, but I know that I will forever have more to learn and understand about the experiences of others. I humbly acknowledge my ignorance and blind spots. I greatly value the comments of the WOC on this site. I value what you have to say. I value the WoC who are in my life, my community, my country, my world. I wish the caring in my heart could translate to something that had a more powerful impact on this issue.

      • Kelly says:

        Ummm what? Of course there are white women who know who Whoopi is and her career trajectory, I am one of them. Also of course there are white women who are interested in the struggles of all women. Divisive comments such as the ones I see here are a help to no one.

      • Anna says:

        Aaaaand cue the #NotAllWhiteWomen lol! Never fails. Just left a discussion under the North West post with this same nonsense. Seriously, we are always labeled “divisive” when we speak the truth of what we experience. If white women want to protest, put your voice, time and money to supporting Black women and women of color in real life, not coming on her with the #NotAll trope.
        Ugh. 🙁

      • Trashaddict says:

        Anna please name three things you would like white women to do. Be specific.

  6. Lucy says:

    Didn’t expect any less from her. I mean, she began with “I messed up”. Happens to the best of us. She’s on the right side.

  7. Aiobhan Targaryen says:

    Yeah, the apology seems authentic enough. I honestly forgot myself that he directed The Color Purple.

    I am personally more pissed off at Anne Thompson calling a film that made over 100 million at the box office and got nommed for about 11 Oscars “a flop”. She doubled down on the foolishness instead of just apologizing for the error. I feel that they both got dragged for not admitting that they were wrong, not really that they made the error.

    • Kate says:

      The fact that Anne Thompson works for a large industry publication is especially worrying. During the Oscarsowhite debate, we talked about diversity in front of the camera, behind the camera but rarely within the film critics’ crowd and I think it’s missing.

      • Aiobhan Targaryen says:

        I actually agree with you on this. The first black critic that comes to mind is Armond White and he is a certifiable drunk jackass who specializes in being a contrarian. He makes good points often, but he also goes out of his way to be a jerk.

    • heather says:

      I forgot, too. Probably because it’s such a departure from the sci-fi genre he’s famous for.

      All the more reason to give him props, rather than criticism, for making a huge departure from the formula he’s good at, to elevate a novel by a woman writer, Alice Walker, from the “women of color” classics list to the mainstream classics list.

      • Aiobhan Targaryen says:

        The film came out 32 years ago though. We can acknowledge that he made the film and did an ok job at it, but not go overboard in our praise for him.

        The Color Purple also won a Pulitzer and The National Book Award in 1983, two years before the movie was released in ’85 so it was already on its way into the mainstream if not already there.

      • blogdis says:

        I usually enjoy your comments and patience in explaining certain things here
        Not sure of your age but I just want to say as a young BW , I vividly remember when the Color Purple came out and that even though it was based on an award winning novel and had the backing of heavy weights such as Quincy Jones and Oprah it was still having difficulty getting greenlit until Spielberg came on board
        so yes there is no need to ” overboard ” ? In praising him (which IMO @ heather was not doing anyway ) but there is no need to be begrudging of acknowledging his contribution either
        As well as phenomenonal acting , I still remember certain scenes like the one at the end in the fields with the purple flowers and the sisters reuniting the movie was IMO well acted and directed and was robbed in several oScar categories especially best lead Whoopi and yes best director Spielberg

      • ORIGINAL T.C. says:


        Yes I still have memories of so many scenes from that film that sends chills down my spine. I will never forget the purple fields, the two sisters reuniting the “you sure is ugly”, etc. I even get tearful thinking about it. Spielberg and Goldberg were both robbed of Oscars.

      • detta says:

        Yep, everything surrounding The Color Purple back then was huge and rightly so and yes, we are nowhere near as far as we should have come, but it was a turning point nonetheless. As someone mentioned it was considered a risk and it made careers. Whoopi became not just a star, she became a worldwide box office draw for many years.

        No-one interested or knowledgable in film history can dismiss this and Banks works in the industry. This is not just any old film Spielberg directed, it is an important entry and a classic. When I started reading the first posting about it yesterday I immediately thought ‘eh, what about The Color Purple’ even before I scrolled to the next sentences mentioning that audience members pointed it out to her. When you accuse someone specifically you should have your facts right, or at least if you make a mistake (it can happen) why not acknowledge it straight away, which she apparently did not. She apologized later so it’s okay, but she could have gone about making her (legit) point in a different and more effective way. And what I think smacks of ignorance and stands out to me more than making the error in the first place was not listening to Belafonte and others pointing it out right then and there.

    • lucy2 says:

      As I said yesterday, I forgot he had directed that as well. I remember the movie and read the book, but don’t associate him with it for some reason. It’s possible she did the same.

      Either way, she took responsibility for her mistake and sincerely apologized, and I think is a smart enough person to learn from this experience and be more aware.

      He should get props for making the film, but that was 30+ years ago, and his track record since then has been directing films almost exclusively starring white men. I will say that as a producer he’s better in terms of diversity though, and I’m glad to hear he’s starting to have more female leads. And definitely there are a number of other directors she could have name checked as well.

      I also agree that Thompson calling it a flop is appalling.

      • godwina says:

        For some reason I was sure–30 years on, with a crap memory–that Oprah had directed it. She does every other damn showbizzy job in this world, it seems.

    • tracking says:

      I also forgot he had directed TCP! But since it’s her line of work, she should have been more careful. Her larger point holds though and I sincerely do not think she meant to omit a movie starring a WOC; as others have said, it was so far outside his norm (and so long ago), people just forget.

    • ORIGINAL T.C. says:

      For me, forgetting The Color Purple is like forgetting Gone with the Wind. It was iconic as well as an iconic FEMINIST film. It’s bizarre that an actress speaking on women in film would forget THAT film. This implies that she may have never studied it as part of her personal acting education. Or she, like many other White feminists, have blinders about the contributions of WOC. Not in a malicious way, if anything it’s unconscious. He are just not thought of.

      If I had to pick a famous (and often given a pass) director with problems related to female leads-Martin Scorsese would be number 1 on my list.

      Even ET’s Drew Barrymore as a minor character is more memorable in ET than any female character in Martin Scorsese films.

      • Ennie says:

        Agree with everything you say Original TC.
        Steven might not have many female leads, but now that I think about it, the female characters in his movies at least have a personality, unlike in many other movies. I am so happy WOnder woman made more
        Money than the mummy. Hopefully the public will continue supporting female characters.

      • KB says:

        FWIW, when Belafonte shouted out “The Color Purple” Elizabeth responded “he directed that?” Then someone else shouted out “no!” She took that person’s word and her assumptions over Belafonte’s, which is why she apologized specifically to her.

        I was born two years after the movie came out, but I never knew he was the one who directed it. It’s certainly an outlier compared to his typical fare. I’m probably biased because I really like her, but I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt.

      • tracking says:

        I don’t think she forgot the movie–I know I haven’t–it’s one of the most beautiful, poignant films I’ve seen in the past 30 years. I could easily name the author/screenwriter and stars, but not the director. She forgot Spielberg directed it. As did I, as did many people on this thread because it is not his standard male heroic action fare (a quick Google brings up articles about his “surprise pick” for directing). Not the same thing. I’m neutral on her overall, but do think these two things are being conflated.

      • Sassafras says:

        @Original TC- Ellen Burstyn was a revelation (to me, anyway) in “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”, which was directed by Scorsese.

      • detta says:

        @ Original T.C.
        Very well put. It’s a classic, it’s iconic, and it is so very clearly a Spielberg film. Seriously, it is something someone working in the industry and being an actress herself should know. Anyone who likes to just watch films and might forget or ignore that fact, you’re excused. Anybody with deeper interest and links to films and film history (and possibly lecturing about it) does not get that pass from me, sorry. Especially since – as mentioned – there are other directors way more “worthy” to point out in regards to what they did or did not do to or with female roles than Spielberg (whose general track record regarding females in co star or lesser roles is really not that abysmal). She just went for the most famous one of all without having educated herself properly.

      • BackstageBitchy says:

        I think @tracking meant people forget that Spielberg directed the movie, not that anyone forgets the movie itself. As I said on an earlier post and as many have re-stated here, no one, except that jackass Thompson, is disregarding the film or its importance. People, including film buffs and industry folks, forget that it was directed by Spielberg, partially BECAUSE it was starring a female character and a WOC and BECAUSE that is very DIFFERENT than what Spielberg is known for and associated with. It’s not because we forget this film about a WOC, it’s because we forget that it was a Spielberg film. This doesn’t need to be about WOC vs White Feminists. Banks embarrassed herself and missed a chance to hit home what was a really excellent point. Steven Spielberg, probably THE preeminent film maker of our time, has made ONE MOVIE with a female lead/ female-driven story in 32 years. That is… not good.
        No one is saying the one film he did make with a woman lead should be disregarded or neglected because it’s a film about a WOC! Far from it. People are saying it’s lame that even though the film was great in many ways, and made great strides for women and POCs in the industry, he didn’t make another film with a female lead for over 30 years afterwards.
        And that is a missed opportunity and a real shame.

    • Mia4s says:

      See but as I said below while I think it’s entirely legitimate that she forgot he directed it as many have said they had too; if you are making plans to publicaly call out literally the most commercially successful and arguably well known male director in Hollywood history at a Hollywood event you DAMN WELL BETTER HAVE YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!!

      Five minutes on IMDB. Five minutes. We can’t afford these kind of lazy mistakes ladies. No it’s not fair, but we just can’t.

      • tracking says:

        Agreed. This is her profession, and she has a responsibility to be more careful and accurate with such remarks.

      • Liberty says:

        I agree with this. Make sure with that five minute check…. if not sure, don’t blurt. It was and is a massively important film, even if he does so few film starring women. I think her apology was sincere and she will check herself in future

  8. boredblond says:

    I think her apology was sincere..but have to wonder–she surely had an idea of what she was going to say at the event, yet didn’t bother to check her ‘facts’?..kinda lazy

    • Mia4s says:

      See this is what did make me angry at her. I think her apology is genuine and that’s fine but in the midst of an ongoing battle for recognition and women in film she made a dumb and lazy mistake. People are saying they also forgot he directed Color Purple? Fine, sure, it was a long time ago. But you weren’t receiving an an award (not a surprise award) that was likely planned weeks if not months in advance at a very public venue. She has lots of time to plan her remarks and made a mistake that could have been corrected by spending 5 minutes on IMDB. She had a legitimate point to make and now it has been completely overshadowed. That’s what is frustrating.

      • third ginger says:

        Agree. Not even people in Hollywood know Hollywood history. Except my idol, Martin Scorsese.

      • Sigh... says:

        And it clearly says she was corrected/reminded by audience members and she dismissed them, so “forgetting” isn’t a good excuse when she was reminded in the moment and *still* said nothing.

        It was a stupid, careless, AVOIDABLE mistake, but yes, still a mistake.

      • KB says:

        @Sigh Shari Belafonte yelled out TCP and elizabeth said “he directed that?” And some other audience member shouted out “no!” Then she said “so I’m still right” and then moved on. She was reminded by one audience member who was then contradicted by another audience member. Not multiple people telling her she was wrong.

      • Kitten says:

        That makes sense, Mia4s and I agree that she should have been better-prepared.

    • Sigh... says:

      @ KB
      Fair enough. She chose to take the wrong person at their word – but if she was truly familiar with the man/career she was ready to call out, then if honestly forgotten, the correct shouted reminder would have saved her this unfortunate diversion from the truest, most viable/valuable parts of her speech. She forgot (dismissed, whatever) one of few WoC female-driven films in the history of HW (11 Oscar noms, Whoopi’s win, $140+mill box ofc) directed by the man she’s publicly criticizing. Now we’re giving her a cutoff point (“it was so long ago”), while using his WHOLE career as an example.

      Again, I believe she made a mistake, but again, it was avoidable. We make them. She made one.

  9. HK9 says:

    Authentic apology accepted.

  10. bap says:

    She is an overrated director and actress. These so called celebrities need to stop making comments about issues until they fully research the issues. Stop trying to get attention without fully researching the facts so they wont have back track.

  11. Alex says:

    Apology actually seems like a real one. So forgiven.
    But I’m honestly exhausted with white women’s erasure of WOC struggles in their feminism.

  12. Luca76 says:

    I’ll confess that I just dislike this woman. I listened to her get interviewed by Marc Maron for WTF and she said a few things that were incredibly entitled and jerky and she just rubbed me the wrong way. So I’m not surprised she did the white feminist thing. Oh and there are barely any black people in her movies.

    • Izzie the other says:

      I feel the same way about her. There is something very entitled about her in the interviews I’ve read. I am so sick of women in Hollywood not making an effort to include WOC in their fight for equality. How many of the women actors, directors, and producers have EVER made a film where a woman who was non-white had a lead role? Truth is, there’s room for improvement on both sides.

  13. TJ says:

    I forgive!!

  14. Almondjoy says:

    There’s nothing surprising about her forgetting a movie that was/is still relevant to POC, specifically black women. Oftentimes movies, albums, tv shows, etc that are special to black women aren’t paid attention to by other people. I personally hate The Color Purple but it’s definitely a classic for many of us. With that said… great apology. She seems genuine.

    • QQ says:

      I know right?, I was gonna say: Of COURSE ya’ll forgot, about a Movie Black People quote nearly daily! LOL

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Reminds me of the time it was said that Solange’s album wasn’t all that iconic and then other people said they hadn’t heard it.. I almost lost it! That album is life to me. But that’s how it is.. what’s iconic to us doesn’t even make a blip on the radar

      • Kate says:

        Same for Lemonade during the whole Grammy debacle.

      • Sigh... says:

        Hell, 35% of Tyler Perry plays are quotes from The Color Purple! 😄

      • AlmondJoy says:


      • hannah89 says:


        Solange’s music is art. If anybody hasnt heard it, thats a loss.

    • Sigh... says:

      How many times are these “mistakes” going to be made before it’s called out for what it is: a character flaw, a perpetual blind spot for WoC (unless to heavily borrow from and not properly
      credit or compensate)?

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Sigh- We do call them out but then people say we’re being angry or oversensitive or critical 🤷🏽‍♀️ We know what it is and why these “mistakes” happen. It’s very frustrating.

      • Kate says:

        We do call them out but then we are called angry and divisive.

      • Sigh... says:

        I should say I mean “we” as in our society, not just WoC (See? See how easy it is to include everybody?).

        And don’t forget: now we can include the patronizing “hysterical” to the list.
        Thanks, Senator Harris!

    • jugil1 says:

      AlmondJoy, I agree. The fact that she also tried to originally dismiss or argue the point with Shari Belafonte speaks volumes. I am not a woman of color but I totally agree with your point. Since The Color Purple wasn’t on her radar, she was ready to dismiss it.

    • Sophia's Side eye says:

      She was too quick to dismiss Shari. I wish she’d go into why she was wrong more in her apology. I don’t get the impression she understands, there’s something deeper there about the lack of inclusion that still goes on today that she still didn’t even touch on. For her it’s about the lack of inclusion of white women only. I liked her but this turned me off.

    • Marianne says:

      Not trying to dismiss you because I do think that not as many white people will know or recognize as many prominently black films but I also think that a lot of people just honestly don’t realize he directed the film. If you look at his filmography he mostly does either Sci-fi films, big budget action-adventure films or war films. I think because The Color Purple is just different than the most of the movies he makes, its easy to assume he had no part in it. I still think it was silly of her to say “never”. Unless she was she 100% sure of his filmography, you shouldn’t make quite a blanket statement. And when The Color Purple was pointed out to her, she shouldn’t have tried to argue it (I mean, how hard would it have been to pull up imdb?)

      • Kitten says:

        I completely forgot he directed it and I’ve seen it twice, albeit when I was a kid and probably didn’t pay much attention to that kind of thing.

        But I’m white and I think that’s kind of the point WoC are making here: easy to forget the details of what was seen as a ground-breaking film for black community if you’re white. Not trying to speak for others but my impression is that the dismissiveness and inherent privilege that comes with not bothering to know about these things feels dismissive af.

      • detta says:

        Please for the love of God (or the movies) can we stop saying Spielberg is about Scifi, adventure and war films?!? As if he was a Michael Bay clone? Please look at his filmography that includes films like Amistad, Schindler’s List, Sugarland Express, Empire Of The Sun or Bridge Of Spies. He has also extensively produced (and as mentioned has worked with women in top jobs behind the camera).
        People working in Hollywood, like Banks, need to be aware of all of this, unless maybe they live in a complete selfish bubble. It comes with the frickin job description. Especially when so many filmmakers and producers and actors/actresses live and breathe film and know endless details and insider stuff about it. She really did not do her homework on this which is a shame and does not help the cause.

  15. Harryg says:

    Someone probably mentioned this already, but Spielberg usually casts age-appropriate women and not only eighteen-year-olds.

  16. JustJen says:

    Meh. I still distinctly remember her dissing SAHMs, of which I am one.

  17. okay says:

    She stays a moron. And her hair looks like ass.

  18. Ennie says:

    Steven could have done more for women leads in his prolific career, but The Color Purple even as his almost only movie about strong women (How they were broken but grew in the movie, Celie, Squeak, the Oprah character) made such an impact on me who did not know a thing abou AA culture. I read the book and found it darker than the movie, more raw. It lost to a beautiful but very white- colonialistic movie Oiut of Africa, quite pretentious but pretty. I am very ignorant about all US-AA history, worst when I am was a teen, but that movie and Empire of the Sun shook my heart more than other movies later. Good for Steve to having made it, shame that it was not recognized more. I eas happy when Whoopy got her Ghost oscar and thought that it was partly a compensation for the Color Purple.
    I am a foreigner non English speaker non black who is not an actress, I am appalled she won’t know about iconic the color purple.

  19. Mildred Pierce says:

    This same woman made fun of Tara Reid’s career, so I don’t care for her ‘apology’.

  20. Ana says:

    What’s so wrong about a male filmmaker wanting to tell male stories that resonate with his personal experience? Spielberg is a director that mostly takes on projects that speak directly to him and his life experience, proven by how he said The Color Purple should have been directed by a black filmmaker because the experience would have been more significant to them (I’m paraphrasing), just like The Schindler’s List was to him. Why not call out Martín Scorsese then? He also tells mostly “dude stories”, but like Spielberg, his women are never cheapened. Heck, even Kathryn Bigelow tells mostly dude stories, with a couple of exceptions. Filmmakers should tell the stories that resonate with them, without filling an agenda (and that’s why we need more female directors). What we can demand from male directors though is that they don’t use women in their movies just as stereotypes or eye candy.

    As for Elizabeth Banks’ apology, I’m sure it was an honest mistake, but she was trying to be edgy and rally the masses and picked the wrong target. If you want to make a statement, make sure you get your facts straight first.

    • BB says:

      I disagree that Spielberg was a “target” in any way. Remove the word “never” from Banks’ statement, and she’s not wrong. Her larger point – that arguably the single most powerful writer/director/producer in Hollywood doesn’t tell women’s stories (for whatever reason) – is being aggressively and completely missed.

      • Aren says:

        I agree that was her only mistake (saying “never”), because she’s absolutely right.

  21. BB says:

    Oh, for God’s sake … The violent contortions of logic people will twist themselves into just to scream “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOOOOOOOU” when a woman says something they don’t like …

    The point made: Steven Spielberg, household name, wealthy powerful Hollywood presence, who has been writing, directing and producing movies for FOUR DECADES, who can presumably get pretty much any project he wants made, does not have a career history of writing, directing, and/or producing lead actor vehicles for women.

    The rebuttal: Yeah, well, you’re a great big Wrongly WrongBitch, aren’t you, because Steven Spielberg made The Color Purple 32 years ago!!!!!! Oh, and a handful of other really awesome and powerful supporting female roles that I’ll … that I’ll list for you just as … just as soon as I check IMDB … be right back.

    She wasn’t wrong.

    • Ana says:

      Maybe you can’t list them without checking IMDb but people who know about movies can. And can also tell you that Steven Spielberg has worked with plenty of women behind the camera, which is just as important. The point here is that if you want to make a relevant statement, you need to choose the right example. And Hollywood is filled with male directors that have done women a great disservice. She chose wrong, showed ignorance, and was rightly corrected for it.

    • Izzie the other says:

      I don’t think we’re the ones covering our ears here. Elizabeth’s mistake speaks to a broader point which is that feminism (as told by Caucasian women) is still not inclusive or mindful about minorities. That is where the problem lies. Instead of listening to WOC when we say ” We’re feeling left out. Can we join this conversation?” We are confronted with accusations of being too emotional or angry. It’s upsetting and defeating honestly. On Katy Perry’s livestream Margaret Cho said something like ” As a minority, I’m so f****** sick of white people” Now, I find that language extreme and unhelpful but as a minority it is just soooo exhausting trying to explain our frustrations over and over again to seemingly deaf ears.

      • Anna says:

        This x10000000000

      • detta says:

        Some of us hear you. I am a white woman and I know about The Color Purple and what is stood/stands for. I generally try to educate myself as best as I can about the world I live in. I admit that I am unaware of many many things, I wish I had greater knowledge, but at least I try to step outside of my own boots and consider what those around me have to deal with. How anybody can look at people and think them lesser due to colour of skin or origin is something I will never understand, I cannot even form such a thought in my head. I hope I am not hated on, but I can absolutely understand where this is coming from and that the situation for so many must be endlessly frustrating and sad and leading to anger. *hug*

    • Kate says:

      Oh, for God’s sake … The violent contortions of logic people will twist themselves into just to scream “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOOOOOOOU” when a BLACK woman says something they don’t like … Fix it for you.

    • Ennie says:

      She easily could have targeter Michael Bay or Ron Howard instead. Steven is not a holy cow or anything, but he is less to blame than many others, his movie women are not just bland flesh bait in every movie he makes.

    • blogdis says:

      @ bb
      She had a valid point to make which SHE sabotaged with her poor choice of words . if she had said Spielberg has not done enough movies with woman leads instead of NEVER then we would have been having a different conversation plus when corrected by Shari she had an opportunity to say “my bad that was great but my overall point is that we need even more women centered films like CP instead she was somewhat dismissive as if to say yeh that doesn’t count I mean movies about the ” real women ” ”
      Also while Spielberg doesn’t have the greatest track record in this regard he is certainly not the worst big name offender so maybe she could have added some other names ? Dunno instead if singling him out alone ?
      Anyway I for one found her apology refreshing and genuine as Hollywood apologies go it is interesting though even then how posters as yourself Still refuse to get it , going as far as to say she should not have apologized ,? well CP is so old how could she remember when the movies she referenced i.e Raiders , Jaws etc are as old if not older than the Color Purple
      Oh Well

  22. Margo S. says:

    Two things

    First, love that banks didn’t do the classic celeb “sorry if you were offended” statement. She was sorry to everyone and admitted to messing up. It’s all good banks, I forgive you. Just do your research next time.

    Second, Meryl Streep doesn’t count Steven. Be a bit more creative with your casting choice dude.

  23. Magnoliarose says:

    I think she is sincere and possibly this moment will give her a pause to think about the lack of diversity in her own projects. It is an issue that desperately needs to be discussed. Maybe something good can come from it.

  24. manta says:

    If she wanted to go after a Hollywood mogul, who did several box-office hits, Ron Howard would be more fitting. I think her “he NEVER had female lead ” would be accurate (and someone will probably correct me i realize).
    And many people cited Scorsese as a better exemple but has he ever had the clout of men like Howard and Spielberg. And even he has his woman-lead flick with Alice doesn’t live here anymore. And no I didn’t have to iMDb it , Burstyn is one of my all time fave. So the big NEVER could not have applied for him either . Pretty sure De Niro and Minnelli shared top billings for New York, New York too.
    Banks could have made her point by observing a basic simple rule: ban the word never. Any other adverb suggesting rarety would have done the trick.

  25. Tanya says:


    Find yourself in the place of many, like you, saying asinine things while attempting to erase women of color, and asking for insincere forgiveness. Nope. Nah. Uh-uh. Forget it.

  26. Marianne says:

    It was kind of dumb for her to say “never” if she wasn’t 100% sure, but otherwise her overall point still remains. Directing one (or two – if you want to count BFG) movie with a prominent female lead in the span of like 40 years…isn’t that impressive.

  27. moirrey says:

    I’d forgive this mistake.

    What I won’t forgive is this:

    “I just want to remind people that celebrities generally are genetically superior human beings on a certain level anyway … ”

    From http://www.thefrisky.com/2013-01-21/celebs-are-genetically-superior-human-beings-elizabeth-banks-confesses/

    Anyone have it on record that she ever apologized for that BS? I couldn’t find anything. Why was she not called out more for that?

  28. MI6 says:

    Never been a fan. Met her in person a few years ago and she seemed quite self-important. This doesn’t help.

  29. Svea says:

    There goes her career. Spielberg has famously and allegedly put the kibosh on plenty of careers of people who crossed him. Dee Wallace and Ben Affleck come to mind.

    • detta says:

      Whatever he did it did not quite work with Affleck – because that guy clearly still has a career complete with Oscars and Globes and a Batmobile. 😉
      And as far as I know Dee Wallace has had a long career in film and tv and worked with Spielberg (as producer) not too long ago?

  30. ValM99 says:

    She didn’t mean Spielberg she’s cast more roles for women. She meant for white women lol this is such white feminism. She dismissed the color purple bc it was a film of women of color. If she actually cared to fact check herself she would’ve of said ‘make more roles for women.’ God white women in hollywood stay exposing themselves 😂😂

  31. Luci Lu says:

    She made a mistake, she apologized…..end of story.

  32. Delilah says:

    The white silver hair color ages her 20 yrs.