Jessica Chastain tried to explain why she did an all-white actress roundtable

Before Christmas, we talked about the LA Times’ roundtable discussion for “the actresses.” ‘Tis the season for trade papers, newspapers and magazines to do their annual “roundtables” ahead of the Oscars. Most media outlets go out of their way to “force” some diversity within these roundtables – like, even if Octavia Spencer probably won’t be nominated in any given year, Octavia is invited to the roundtable (although Octavia is probably getting nominated this year, for Best Supporting for The Shape of Water).

The LA Times’ The Envelope roundtable didn’t force the diversity or inclusion message at all this year. They just went all-in with white women, doing a roundtable with Kate Winslet, Jessica Chastain, Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, Annette Bening and Margot Robbie. Margot and Saoirse are frontrunners in the Oscar race, so I understand their inclusion (and I’m mystified as to Sally Hawkins’ exclusion). But the rest of this bunch? Not really. When we talked about this last week, I even pointed out how lacking-in-inclusion this roundtable was, even though the point of my story was that Kate Winslet cannot shut up about how much she loves Woody Allen, and literally no one at the roundtable would challenge her about it.

Now that the cover is out, people are really mad. They have every reason to be – we’ve suffered through too many years of #OscarsSoWhite for this bullsh-t to keep happening. Culture/film/TV critic Rebecca Carroll – a woman of color – specifically called out Jessica Chastain for participating in this nonsense, tweeting:

Honestly @jes_chastain as an outspoken voice for equality how do you pose for a photo like this and not feel absolutely mortified by the blatant exclusion? How is it possible to not understand the msg this photo sends?

It is literally the antithesis of “a shift in focus” — this is literally The Same Focus on White Women in Hollywood. To present these women collectively worth millions of dollars as change agents when black women with like regular jobs just saved an entire Southern state from a racist pedophile getting seat in the US senate is just beyond.

It’s not just abt assigning editors or photographers or the very obvious and well-known whiteness of Hollywood. It’s abt individual accountability. These are smart, outspoken, savvy women who are demonstrating a lack of self awareness or willful obtusity or both. I cannot help but to think of the young black girls and girls of color who see an image like this whether aspiring actresses or not and instantaneously getting the message that there is no place for them in mainstream, valued America.

@jes_chastain How do you work w an iconic actress like Viola Davis, who has been treated horribly by media re her appearance, and who herself is raising a young daughter, and not immediately issue some sort of corrective for an image like this?

Obviously structural change takes time but the collective power in this image — the platform, the agency, the privilege — could at least recognize the way in which the optics here double down resolutely on willful exclusion of people of color.

[From Rebecca Carroll’s Twitter]

Jessica Chastain responded directly to Carroll’s tweets, writing:

Which… can I say? This is bullsh-t. This is bullsh-t from Jessica Chastain, to basically say “well, there weren’t many women of color in movies this year, isn’t it terrible?” She went to The Envelope’s actress roundtable. She sat there and participated in it. She posed for photos, she posed for the cover, she had the camera angled on her in all the videos. She did all of that and she only said this about diversity when she was publicly criticized. A room full of white actresses spent the day together, talking about art and feminism and Hollywood and none of them had any problems with the lack of diversity in that discussion. They didn’t have any problems with it until days (weeks?) later, when people called them out on it. If anyone was in a position to change things, it was literally every woman at that table. Annette Bening could have looked around and said, “wow, I didn’t know that only white women were being invited this year.” Diane Kruger could have stood up and said “this isn’t fair to actresses of color, I’m leaving.” None of them did that.

Embed from Getty Images

Photos courtesy of Getty, cover courtesy of The LA Times.

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129 Responses to “Jessica Chastain tried to explain why she did an all-white actress roundtable”

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  1. Valois says:

    One of the problems with Jessica Chastain (no matter how well intentioned she might be) is that she wants to have her cake and eat it, too.

    • Annie says:

      They all do. They’re not going to challenge the system that works in their favor. This is why so many directors and actors turned a blind eye to Weinstein. It benefited them for a very long time. Screw whoever is thrown under the bus.

      • FLORC says:

        Nailed it. Very few will challenge a system that they benefit so greatly from. You’re willingly blinded or you choose to accept it.

    • mazzie says:

      All actors do. Ego vs. doing the right thing.

      • Carrie1 says:

        Everyone in a position of success and influence is the same. That’s how they got where they are, putting themselves first. I don’t like it either but that’s life.

    • Valois says:

      I totally agree, but not very actor/actress likes to get woke points as much as her and be celebrated for doing the talk but not the walk.

    • Cat says:

      Who exactly is Jessica Chastain to make demands? Show up promote your film, then leave. She was lucky to be invited herself. I like her, but she is lucky to get Oscar buzz, year after year.

  2. QueenB says:

    Jessica the alt left Chastain keeps disappointing. I really struggle nowadays to see a difference between white women and white men.

    • Mia says:

      Only now? Bell Hooks, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde among many other black women have been saying this and writing this since the 70’s. They had no delusions that in white supremacy, white women were just looking to replace or be on par with white men. They care about gender first and foremost over race and class. Hell these women had no delusions that black men were also all about being on par with white men and could care less about equality from a gender aspect.

      Countless of woc sociologist from the west and so called developing nations can spot the pattern a mile away. In fact many of these same academics are very good at calling out the paternalistic attitudes of western feminism and white feminist who think they know better than woc what we need. There is such an obtuseness to all of it as white women can call out the messed up paternalism of white men and colonialism yet not see how they perpetuate and uphold the same damn attitudes and thus keep the system going.

    • Milla says:

      They are fake. They promote themselves, partly cos they are afraid of losing their jobs and six figures accounts. Actors or celebraties aren’t powerful. They are just famous.

      The only reason I’d give her a pass is cos of all the sexism.

  3. Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

    “Girls Trip” – Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, Queen Latifa, Tiffany Hadish.

  4. Danielle says:

    Instead of constantly blaming the actresses why not go after the people who arrange if recent events tell us anything is that most of these actresses have less power then we think

    • Aang says:


      • MrsBump says:

        Agreed. I’m the only WOC in my team, the rest are all white men. Should they quit their jobs, until another POC is hired? I assume my situation is not unique, so where are the mass resignations ?
        The onus is on the company to hire more POC, or for the government to legislate diversity in recruitment.
        Similarly, in this situation, it is very easy to blithely demand that someone walk out of their very likely contractual obligations in order to stand on higher moral ground but the responsibility needs to be placed on the shoulders of those responsible – the organisers. However we the customers need to take greater responsibility too : do not go see movies with a non-inclusive cast. Ultimately it is the consumer that dictates the market, far more than any actress.

      • Lahdidahbaby says:

        Thumbs up, Mrs. Bump!

    • inthekitchen says:

      How about blaming both? Or holding both accountable? I mean all of these women made the active choice to participate in the roundtable so they are complicit in the continuation of other people and voices being excluded.

      Did any of them even notice the whiteness of the room? If yes, then why didn’t they speak up and assert the power they do have to advocate for more inclusion? Or at the very least, say no to participating and then tweet about how disappointed they were at such a white invitation, etc.? If no, they didn’t even notice – which it seems to be the case based on Chastain’s response – well, why is that?! Why can’t/shouldn’t they be held accountable for that??

      • Sharon says:

        Right! They had to go through their agents to set this up, why not ask who else is participating? Jessica also moved the goalposts when someone suggested Tiffany Haddish, she said ‘No we’re talking about LEADING actresses’, I’m sure Tiffany, Latifah, Jada OR Regina Hall could have been on it. I mean Diane Krueger? And the LA mag got pushback too. As usual BW have to stand up for ourselves.

    • eto says:

      But guess who they still have more power than?

    • Imqrious2 says:

      Exactly. If these women walk out, i’d almost guarantee they’d be replaced with replicas. It is the ORGANIZERS that need to be brought up into the light of day and given a good shaking (verbally, of course) to rid this (event) of his proverbial cobwebs. Would itineraries been better if one,or all, spoke up? Of course! But once again, it shows women do not hold the power BEHIND the screen…..yet!

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        So in other words don’t stand up for anything if it means risking something as well?? That’s what activism and having integrity is about! These women DO hold power – it’s why they were asked to participate in the first place. They are all notable successful and some are Oscar winning and Oscar nominated. If every single one of them had stood up and said “NO. This isn’t inclusive”. You know what would have happened? They would have included an actress of color. Period. And if they didnt they would be the publication who refused to do so. How do you think that would play in the public arena? No, like always when it comes to standing up for WOC, white feminists look the other way and put their own interests first.

      • Morning Coffee says:

        I’m not sure they could walk out. They not doubt have contractual obligations to publicize their films….participate in Oscar campaigns. Now, could they SAY something? Sure. But I’m not sure why Jessica Chastain is getting called out instead of the other 4?

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        @Morning Coffee Jessica is being called out because she is the one always on Twitter and in interviews feigning “”wokeness”. No one expects for Woody Allen praising Winslet to say anything. But Jessica has positioned herself as a “champion of women”. And she just proves that like most she is a champion of women – when it suits her and when those women are white. She’s a hypocrite.

      • Morning Coffee says:

        But what about Annette Benning? Supposed to be so “woke”. Agreed that Winslet was going to be an idiot and the other two haven’t put themselves out there, but regardless – shouldn’t we be calling them out for NOT putting themselves out?

      • magnoliarose says:

        She shouldn’t have participated. It isn’t that hard to do the right thing. Either we are going to start being brave and stick our necks out or sit down and shut up.
        Being a woman in Hollywood is not an excuse.
        When you have a power position, you use it and demand a woman of color to work with you or be included.

      • ORIGINAL T.C. says:

        If they walked out they would be replaced? OK, by Whom? If you don’t stand up for something, you will fall for anything. What if the panel was all White men and one white women? You don’t think she would speak out about the absence of her white sisters at a “me too” moment? This panel was setup to represent the “me too” movement and all those ladies sat there and discussed empowerment without even mentioning that the definition of a woman is not limited to only women of the white race?

        Majority of White women voted to put Trump in power because most of those voters think of their race first and gender second. Same as the majority of White women who voted for Roy Moore. Black women have to think of their race and gender at all times. We are disadvantaged on both fronts but like all humans if you have one advantage, you are not going to look to help bring up someone else. Then they are your equal and you have to compete against them.

        White women blame Black women for not allowing biracial women to take their roles. When was the last thing a White actress advocated for a biracial actressto have equal chance to a role requiring written for a White actress? Biracial means equally half of bothracials so if they can go for the role of Black why not White? Completion is your answer.During slavery, White women pushed their husbands and fathers to make sure their biracial daughters were never considered equal and thus unable to be freed or left anything in their wills. This is a part of US history that still has not been reconciled or dealt with. And it continues to follow us.

    • GreenTurtle says:


    • Umyeah says:

      I wouldnt be suprised if JC just stops speaking out, she gets dragged every time she says anything.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        Perhaps she should. Since her “speaking out” is tinged with so much hypocrisy. No one will take her seriously.

      • KBB says:

        At least Jessica Chastain is trying. Robbie and Ronan are both young, they should be just as conscious of this stuff as JC.

        If you want to talk about hypocrisy, Kate Winslet should be the target. She actually has power in the industry, but she couldn’t care less about any of these issues.

      • Carrie1 says:

        Yep. I’d stop in her shoes, and switch to deeds not words. Actions are what’s needed here. She needs to use her words on those in positions of power over her and work it that way. Nobody in the public sphere wants to hear this without actions.

    • Annie says:

      But we should blame them. How come none of them cared? It’s so easy to tune out WOC because white has been the standard in Hollywood and America forever. To them it’s not a problem at all because it’s only normal. They need to ask themselves why are they ok with this or why they don’t mind if a WOC is not at the table. They don’t miss them at all because they’re probably never at their tables back home either.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:


      • Hh says:

        “They don’t miss them at all because they’re probably never at their tables back home either.”

        YES. JUST YES. This sentence is EVERYTHING.

        No doubt, JC et al are caught off guard because they didn’t notice and it didn’t cross their mind when there. Why didn’t they notice? Because it’s a reflection of their daily lives.

      • Nicole says:

        Dang Annie this comment. Yes. 👏🏾👏🏾

      • Honey says:

        I said also but you said it better.

        I’m going to go out on a limb here. Their focus could be solely on gender more so than diversity which, of course, brings up the decades long critic of white feminist practices with the emphasis on white. I’m not judging here but stating a fact/opinion.

    • Honey says:

      True. And each of the woman present could have asked the event coordinators behind the scenes why there weren’t any WOC there. We don’t know if they did that. However, I am a WOC who is often the minority in the room be it gender, race or POV. Sometimes I’m in a privileged position and sometimes I’m not. However, the thing I always note and point out, and it could be because of my life-long minority status, is who is not at the table. That’s not new for me. That’s longstanding. I’m in my 40s. Although the women at the table could be very diverse in their viewpoints, it seems to me that they either didn’t see who wasn’t at the table (because of their own lack of equity re: racial / ethnic diversity in their personal lives) and therefore the optics of the picture didn’t prick their consciousness or they just rolled with it given whatever they were told.

      Does every picture have to have UN representation? No. However, if you are out there championing equity and inclusivity as your brand then you need some United Colors of Benetton pictures. Just saying . . .

    • Milla says:

      But we can blame them for self promotion. This is how they get fans who will wanna see their movies. I guess there’s some honesty in few of them, but acting is what they do.

  5. eto says:

    I didn’t even read the full headline before my eyes rolled all the way in the back of my head earlier and knew it was some whitewashed feminist thing. What’s unfortunate is whatever genuine merit each of their stories and actions have, it’s overshadowed by the ridiculous gap of representing any other experience.

  6. MeowuiRose says:

    That was an incredibly dismissive tweet! Very oh well, how about that Deadpool in tone. I think she should be held to higher standards as she wants it known how “outspoken” she is re inequalities. #dobetter

  7. Ayra. says:

    Shall I pretend to be shocked at the dismissiveness again? It’s getting exhausting.

    I’ll say this in the simplest of terms, these women do not care about us. They can talk about wanting female diversity as much as they want, but when it’s actually time to do something, they’re quieter than a mouse.
    I’ve come to the point where I just roll my eyes at these white Hollywood actors when they talk about inclusion. If I’m looking for diversity, most of the time, I end up going towards the poc actors and directors, who actually do something (an example being A Wrinkle in Time with Ava, Black Panther with Coogler).

    People of my timeline named more than 5 movies, if she cared enough to know.

  8. PPP says:

    Is it really realistic to ask these women to stand up and abandon the discussion at the last minute? I do think actors/actresses should be taken to task when they don’t turn down a whitewashed role, but withdrawing from a table like this and publicly calling it out for being too white seems like the kind of thing that would give them a reputation for being difficult. I just can’t fault people for acting out of fear of endangering their careers.

    • KLO says:

      We tend to forget that acting is a job to these people. This is how they support themselves.

      Her tweet WAS dismissive though. The backlash must have hit a spot.

    • eto says:

      No, but it would be realistic for them to acknowledge the lack of diversity. If these white women, who have more influence and power, will take the feminist title but won’t stand up for WOC, who will?

      • Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

        @eto: yes, it would be realistic and forthcoming. But see what JC in her mighty wokening self said in the tweet:

        “The industry has a lot of work to do, especially for WOC.”

        There are problems with that. “The industry” is whole load of sh1t, smoke and mirrors. I am willing to bet a movie ticket on that – sex, violence, drugs, blackmail, too much crap under the carpet. Nobody can make it accountable. We can make a president accountable or something like that, but no. The industry is a super ambiguous term.

        And the most HORRIFYING issue, is that there is WORK to do, especially for WOC. What the F does that mean. WOC require effort? Since when is there the necessity to make an effort to include WOC or Asians or anyone else who is not white, in a country that prides itself – or use to, as a melting pot of cultures? This is so eff-up. But please, I want to hear more!

    • Aang says:

      Right. Was she supposed to ask who else was included and then say “no, I have my own list and won’t participate unless you do it my way”? Should they turn down roles in all white movies? How about refusing to play married 40 year old mothers when they are 25? They have a career they need to protect and are easily replaced and blacklisted. We understand when they don’t speak up when they are harassed and abused but they have to single handedly solve the diversity issue?

      • Carrie1 says:

        This, also with the dominant thing this year being MeToo, the issue is abuse of women, not diversity, not gay, not anything else. It’s WOMEN – all, every country, race, girls and WOMEN – and the horrific abuses we have endured and been victimized and controlled by due to being female since “time immemorial”.

        I’m not here in 2017 for anything else except to see this MeToo take solid root. It’s been forever.

        Don’t come at me, I am a bit more than 1 drop and increasingly concerned how subtly MeToo is being veered away from already.

    • inthekitchen says:

      PPP – I just completely disagree. What we need is a groundswell of (white) voices saying, no more. I mean, look what happened with the sexual assault/me too conversation – most of those women are being hailed as heroes for coming out and brave for speaking up to power.

      If all six of those women banded together and made a statement about it or refused to participate and clearly stated why – don’t you think we’d see them as heroic? Wouldn’t that be moving the conversation forward? I don’t think they’ve be viewed as difficult to work with, I think they’d be viewed as putting their money where their mouths are. Why do WOC have to do all the heavy lifting and be the ones to constantly put themselves at risk (or save the day, like in Alabama)?

      And, yes, sometimes people need to be willing to risk some gain to themselves to be on the side of doing what’s right. That’s the whole point!

      And, KLO – yes, but acting is also a job to the black actors and the Asian actors and Latino and First Nations actors who are not even getting a seat at the (round)table let alone equality of acting roles/opportunities. How about worrying about how they will support themselves instead of worrying about Kate Winslet or Annette Bening. I think the six in this article will be just fine.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        EXACTLY. What would have happened is that they simply would have asked an actress of color to the table.

      • Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

        No, they don’t have ask for an actress of color to the table just for the sake of having an actress of color at the table. Women of color are worthy of a seat at the table because they are talented AND representative for women worldwide. The mere thought of a “token” actress of color at the table is insulting.

      • Littlestar says:

        @ inthekitchen yass preach! Exactly, what about the Latina, First Nations, black and Asian women who aren’t afforded the same opportunities for jobs in Hollywood, what makes these women’s jobs more important? The very least they could have done is mention the lack of WOC present and the problem that represents.

    • Enough Already says:

      And God knows they should guard their reputations at all costs. I mean, it’s obvious that placating powerful white men in Hollywood 100% works out best for everyone in the end.

      • Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

        QuentinTarantino chose Pam Grier for Jackie Brown even though in the book, the character was a white woman. So it’s not impossible to cast a woman of color in a role meant for a “white” woman. That’s the only example I can think of, but powerful white men do have a choice. I want to see more.

      • Enough Already says:

        It was sarcasm :/

      • Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

        @Enough Already: nothing against you, I was trying to make a point!

      • magnoliarose says:

        There are no excuses. I am sick to death of reasons for why someone can’t do something. Sure you can.

    • Enough Already says:

      If acting is all that matters to them then they should stfu and stop taking turns appearing to be aware. I don’t recall any poc begging Chastain to publicize how aware/diverse/hip she is about issues affecting us. But those woke points are addictive, I know, I know. Why screw it up and then retreat behind the shield of hey I just say words in front of a camera? You don’t see Jennifer Aniston pretending to know shit about anyone’s struggles.

  9. Fa says:

    Yes it is terrible that she can’t think of 5

    • Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

      It’s super terrible – she **is** in the movie industry. So, she really doesn’t care.

    • Jussie says:

      None of those films have anyone in contention for lead actress. Not even as super out there outside chances.

      Tiffany Haddish has a shot at a supporting nomination, but this roundtable was for leads.

      • Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

        But that’s not the issue. JC wrote: “Its TERRIBLE that I can’t think of at least 5 female lead films with woc this year”.

        If she indeed cared, she should have been able to name a few titles, or hey, at least one. That’s just some knee jerk reaction on her side, if I understand the context correctly. And I don’t mean to dismiss Salma Hayek – she’s very talented, ambitious and successful and experienced her (un)fair share of struggle, but I don’t think she “qualifies” in what I consider to be the underlying tone of this situation that is “dark” women. SH is Mexican-Lebanese. That said, “diversity” applies to Latinos, Asians as well.

  10. manta says:

    Chastain is maybe more targeted because she spends a lot of time educating the rest of the world and does enjoy being Hollywood poster child of awakeness.
    I don’t recall Bening or Kruger lecturing anybody.
    And people should chill, there was diversity: a US mag with 3 non American women. Irish, English, Australian, that’s diverse! (heavy sarcasm)

  11. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Her tweets sound like a mommy pacifying her child.

  12. Jussie says:

    There aren’t any WOC in contention for any awards for best actress this year. Not even as major, major long-shots. Which is obviously a huge problem, but this roundtable was for lead actress contenders, and there are zero WOC’s in contention this year. There’s really no getting around that. Of course it would be fantastic to have more diversity at that table, but what’s the solution? Invite a random WOC actress purely because of their skin colour, despite them not meeting the criteria? That’s fairly offensive and patronising in its own way.

    It’s a big, big issue that there were zero WOC who fit the fairly basic criteria of having been the lead in an awards worthy film. It’s something that should have been discussed during this roundtable. But it’s not this publication that’s at fault, it’s the studio’s that didn’t make any prestige pictures with lead roles for WOC’s this year. That’s what we need to be talking about, not a magazine cover.

    Oh and Sally Hawkins (and Frances McDormand) don’t do this kind of campaigning. That’s why she’s not there, she’s saying no to all these things.

    • tracking says:

      +1 Chastain is just a working actress, and is not in charge of movies being made or casting decisions. Is she privileged, and should she own that? Yes, of course. But she’s not wrong that it’s an institutional problem and the buck rests with studios failing to demonstrate any commitment to diversity whatsoever. It would have been phenomenal had all six white actresses jointly decided to boycott the cover, and it is insane to me that in this day and age none realized the problem until it was pointed out to them. Still, Chastain is a convenient scapegoat for a much larger problem–when she at least is making an effort and has shown a willingness to voice political opinions unlike the rest of the women on the cover (as far as I know).

    • AgnesVardasBeachball says:

      Yes, and that’s a convenient argument that people will use to continue having all-white or all-male roundtables. It doesn’t help to solve the problem of systemic racism or sexism in the industry and the LA Times should very definitely be concerned about that.

      What they should have done is notice that they have an all-white roundtable and say, “hey, that’s bad. Maybe we could have a roundtable that highlights outstanding performances by women this year that includes lead and supporting roles.” That would’ve been a tiny shift that would’ve made a huge difference – especially when they’re discussing “a shift in focus.” Then maybe they could’ve had an honest discussion about diversity and the lack of lead roles for WOC.

      In order to shift focus, someone has to actually make the first move to…shift focus.

  13. Shambles says:

    Literal white feminism. And Jessica f*cked up. Either own your decision or acknowledge the pain you’ve caused and commit to doing better. Don’t keep trying to feign wokeness. White women, we have to be better.

    • Deets says:

      Truth. And at some point, your morals need to talk over your pocket book.
      Equality doesn’t come from maintaining the same privilege you’ve always had, it means you are going to have to give something up, in this case, a spot at the table so a WoC can speak.

      White womens forget sometimes that we have privilege. In these Weinstein times it can feel especially privilege light. Perhaps It feels like sharing crumbs, those very few things we do get, especially in comparison to male privilege, but those are our crumbs to share. And we’d best get on it.

      Jessica should have agreed and sent Jada Pinkett in her stead for maximum disruption. Or made it clear she declined because of the makeup. Like Ed Skrein.

    • Abbess Tansy says:

      I agree with you. I’ve tried to give Jessica the benefit of the doubt. I’ve concluded that she wants the appearance of wokeness but doesn’t want to truly put herself out of the way for inclusion and diversity. All talk, no action. Peak white feminist. I have dismissed her.

      • Sophia's Side eye says:

        Yep, she wants that “woke” label, but doesn’t actually wear it. You don’t get to have it both ways. And honestly people only have expectations based upon her own words, so she should walk the walk, or stop talking.

    • Nicole says:

      They don’t want to do the hard work. And that’s the bottom line here. That’s what it ALWAYS comes down too. Black women are the face of every resistance because they are willing to put their bodies and lives on the line for change. We haven’t seen that reciprocated yet.
      And that’s why WOC tend to separate themselves from movements that are co-opted or started by white women. It’s tone deaf

      • Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

        I watched this Buzzfeed video a while ago and one of the African-American contributors said the following: “America was built on the backs of African-American women”, meaning that they did the “heaviest work” – I get so emotional when I remember that I don’t find my words. That stuck with me every since I heard it. There was a lot of sorrow in her words and her eyes.

    • SilverUnicorn says:


      White powerful women and viewers…
      Let’s stop watching white people’s movie fests and see if things change.

      Many years ago I wrote a couple of scripts that included a lot of Asians and PoC in them.
      Excuse given by the agent for not even sending them around for consideration was “nobody is going to see them if we hire all these non-white people”.

      If you needed any other confirmation….

    • magnoliarose says:

      This is why Gillibrand gets on my nerves. KG isn’t extraordinary or a standout, but she thinks she should run for president like it is her due. That would be the worst mistake the Dems could make.
      She hurt the #metoo cause with this overweening sense of entitlement and extreme tone deafness. Grandstanding is a turnoff. Legislate. Work. Make things happen. Challenge something. She is capable, but she is an unremarkable Senator.
      Black women don’t vote and work so she can step over them for her place in the sun. ARRRGH!
      I hate that.
      I hate this roundtable.
      Either we are for change and fairness, or we are bystanders waiting for minorities to do the heavy lifting. AGAIN.

  14. Her Higness says:

    no one wants to give up their privilege or their seat at the ‘table’ EVER
    racism & elitism is a human sickness with no cure
    you cant tell me to expect more of people, Jessica’s responses were disgustingly mocking imo.

  15. Sherry says:

    If I’m reading her comments correctly, these women were invited because they were female leads who carried their films this year? So there were no WOC who carried a film this year? None? Girls Trip anyone?

    I would love to see more female production companies and where are the female Tyler Perry’s (I love him)?

    Also, didn’t Oprah produce a film this year? She’s publicly stated her goal is winning an Oscar.

    • Jussie says:

      Tiffany Haddish is the awards contender for Girls Trip, but she had a supporting role. Queen Latifah and Jada aren’t remotely contenders for Best Actress (nor should they be, Haddish and Hall’s brilliant efforts made it obvious they were phoning it in).

    • Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

      I don’t know about her involvement in movies this year, but Oprah is executive producer of “Greenleaf” a TV-series, and also plays a supporting role. Now that’s a complex and intriguing show. Btw, I love to see her act.

  16. monette says:

    Mary J Blige
    Hong Chou
    Tiffany Haddish
    There is your f***ing list, Chastain!
    It’s beyond sad that actresses that are advocates and voices of one issue ( sexual predatory) f*** it up like this on other issues.
    Ohhh, Le Sigh!

    • Jussie says:

      Blige, Chou and Haddish all have supporting roles, not lead roles. The roundtable was solely for lead actresses.

      Oprah doesnt have a film out this year. She had a TV movie, and she did a TV roundtable for that earlier in the year.

  17. marc kile says:

    She acts like she the most important person in any conversation and she always comes off as annoying as hell. Never liked her and never will. Female version of Matt damon

    • Deets says:

      Errrr….. no. That’s excessive.
      Matt Damon is actively bad for women, and actively covering for abusers and predators who are his friends.
      Chastain is clueless on intersectionality. Chastain is maybe Matt McGorry.

      • marc kile says:

        Your right my bad I just let my negative side get the best of me.

      • mouse tolliver says:

        Jessica Chastain defended Matt Damon though. Back when he was getting slammed for helping kill Harvey Weinstein exposé. She enables the enablers when it’s good for her career.

      • Deets says:

        Marc, well I can throw no stones in that area, lol.

  18. Tallia says:

    Mudbound is one of the best movies I have seen this year. Mary J Blige BLEW ME AWAY, easily my nod for the awards this season. I am really disappointed in JC.

  19. Enough Already says:

    Trickle down equality really works, you guys, if you give it a chance.
    *struggles to keep a straight face…fails*
    Screw it. The woke ones are worse than the overt racists.

  20. IMO says:

    The selective protest and indignation is getting out of hand, it is hard to believe those “outspoken” actors.

  21. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Once again white feminism missing the f*cking point. These types of things will continue to happen until people like Chastain and Kruger stand up to it. The Hollywood machine has no reason to change until then. Chastain’s answers were lame AF but that doesn’t surprise me. This is exactly what I would expect from a white feminist: faux outrage but ultimately when it comes to inclusiveness and standing up for WOC they don’t give a s*it. Every one of those women could have walked away from that table and demanded that an actress of color be included. Not a SINGLE one did.

    • monette says:

      How can we ask them to say something about the lack of diversity when they stood there and just listened to Winslet praising a pedophile? An issue they actually care about and that Chastain has been very vocal about.
      I guess the man that told her to Calm down reallyhad an impact on her.

    • African Sun says:

      Equality doesn’t include women of colour, that’s really the bottom line when it comes to feminism and gender equality.

      I am kind of bemused when some black or ethnic minority women get upset at some of the celebrities for this and it’s like LOL why would she be upset at something that she is ultimately gaining from?

      They don’t want black, Asian, Latina actresses on the cover because the powers that be do not think they are relevant unless it is Lupita, Viola or Jennifer Lopez.

      Sick and tired of this nonsense.

  22. Electric Tuba says:

    Honestly, I’ve never seen any of this woman’s films and after all her interviews I have no desire to start any time soon. I’m tired of Hollywood preachers who are out of touch with reality. Just my opinion

  23. Reef says:

    Honestly, this is pretty typical. A lot of white feminists have a blind spot regarding race. Gender discrimination is understood but race AND gender discrimination eludes many. It’s just not on the forefront of their minds.

  24. AgnesVardasBeachball says:

    The problem I’ve always had with the argument “but this roundtable was just for lead actresses in Oscar contention” (the same argument used when there are all-male director roundtables) is that Trade magazines like this are a huge part of creating the buzz around performances that are awards-worthy.

    I’ve always said that they should do their part to shift the conversation and introduce people into the discussion that might not be getting the buzz that larger, more PR-supported performances are getting.

    Alicia Vikander won a Supporting Actress Oscar for a lead role so why couldn’t Tiffany Haddish’s supporting role be considered for a lead…at the very least for this roundtable? It’s pure laziness and it’s why I’ve always rolled my eyes at these lame ass roundtable discussions.

    • tracking says:

      I’m with you on the first point, though buzz can’t be generated for movies that simply aren’t being made. This comes back to studios.
      I’m not with you on the second point though. Lead actresses sometimes “drop down” to the supporting category to improve their odds of winning because obviously their roles are meaty, which works to their competitive advantage. That doesn’t work in reverse–supporting actresses can’t “trade up” to the lead category.

      • AgnesVardasBeachball says:

        But there are no concrete rules in the Academy about what constitutes a lead vs. a supporting performance. It’s the studio that determines which category someone has the best shot at winning so that’s where they try to influence the vote.
        So, as a trade magazine, why not include someone like Tiffany Haddish – who was on-screen for a very large part of the film – especially if you see that you have an all-white panel? Why not go to some of the smaller films that aren’t getting the PR support and give them a goose?

        There ARE movies being made by women and POC but they just don’t get the release or consideration that these large prestige movies do. These LA Times writers go to all the same film festivals that I do so they would know that. They should try to set the conversation, not just bow down to the studio PR machine.

  25. Betsy says:

    This is dumb. Do you blame guests at a dinner party for for the guest list?

    • Enough Already says:

      No, but I question the sincerity of the guests if they never saw it was in their best interests to ask the host to do better.

    • inthekitchen says:

      Maybe not, but the guests are not obligated to go to the party or stay when they arrived and saw who the other guests were.

      I’m exaggerating to make a point (because clearly the other guests for the roundtable aren’t sexual assaulters), but if you showed up to a party full of Woody Allen/Harvey Weinstein/Donnie Drumpf types, you wouldn’t be blamed for having received the invitation, but you would get blamed/judged for staying to party with them.

    • Sophia's Side eye says:

      Guests at a dinner party are not expecting me to pay money to see them and support their career. Are you serious?

  26. Deets says:

    Chastain isn’t the only issue here.
    There were five other women there, all white. What did Krueger say, or Benning? Robbie? Oh nothing? Why is Christian holding the torch for all white women?

    Winslet is a pos, so thats expected, but what about the others? They all have equal responsibility. And more so, the organizers. We ask actresses to act on things, but that’s like asking a waitress to change the menu.
    Sure they can make a big fuss that most likely will only impact their employability. Change needs to come closest to the source for the most impact. SAG and other industry players need to make diversity a priority.

  27. poop says:

    Poor girl can’t catch a break. Be offended for the sake of being offended.

  28. Lissa says:

    April Reign (her twitter is ReignofApril, I believe) had some interesting tweets on Chastain’s response as well as the cover in general. She points out that Chastain’s team would have signed off on the shoot (meaning that they would have known in advance who the other actresses were); I believe she went on to suggest that actors and their teams could at this point implement a diversity policy– i.e., I won’t participate if this won’t meet these standards. While I think that the fault of the cover primarily rests with the LA Times/editors/etc, change might only come about from the actors/their teams.

    Re: Sally Hawkins– I believe she has an auto-immune disease, and so has said she has to be careful about how much time she spends campaigning.

  29. HoustonGrl says:

    Betty Gabriel – get out
    Tiffany Haddish – Girl’s Trip
    Octavia Spencer – the shape of water
    Salma Hayek – Beatriz at Dinner
    Taraneh Alidoosti – The Salesman

    There, I fixed it! Chastain should have apologized and taken ownership of the mistake, way better PR strategy than some BS about how no WOC acted in films this year. They DID, but they’re never recognized. Why? Because of highly problematic whitewashed publications like the one she just posed for. Also, Diane Krueger?! Wtf?

    • Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

      I hear you, BUT, Jessica Chastain mentioned Salma Hayek, a very un-controversial choice. She doesn’t know or doesn’t pay attention to women who are darker than Salma Hayek and she proves it. This whole person of color is super-insulting. I am white btw and the racial categorization makes me cringe.

  30. Marty says:

    I’m not angry at the lack of diversity, because same old same old, I find myself constantly having a low-level of tiredness with the lack of inclusion and diversity in Hollywood. However, as I have gotten older, I just find myself apathetic towards these movies and performances. Not that some of these ladies don’t deserve recognition, they do, but there is just no excitement for me as a PoC to see these films year after year knowing I’m not going to be represented. Does that make sense?

    • dodgy says:

      Yeah, that makes sense. It’s gotten to the point where I’ll only pay for movies with poc leads or presence — that’s about it, really. I’ve saved so much money since I took that stance ages ago.

    • Sophia's Side eye says:

      Yes it does, Marty. That’s why I don’t watch many films either, Hollywood is one note and tone deaf. They don’t tell stories I want to see, so why should I support them when they bore me? I want to see POC, and especially WOC in lead roles, until I start seeing that I’m keeping my money.

  31. African Sun says:

    She did the roundtable for her career?

    I mean this is why Latina magazine, Essence, BET, and Black Enterprise exist and it is why they are so important to exist.

    Feminism has not done a good job of including women of colour. Hollywood hasn’t done a good job of including women who are dark-skinned into their ranks.

    At this point, it is the way the cards are dealt. You have to decide who you want to be the croupier.

  32. Littlestar says:

    How hard is it to say during the roundtable “hey while I appreciate this opportunity of gathering women in Hollywood I can’t help but notice we’re missing very important voices; the voices of non-white women. This is not just a problem here but indicative of Hollywood’s current and historic state, as well as the dynamics of this country, past and present”. Don’t even have to storm out, just say it. Use your power in a mainstream publication to say something. But like another commenter said, it didn’t seem odd to them because this level of whiteness is normal. And everyone saying oh it’s their job, they have to behave; yeah what about the WOC whose job it is too but don’t get the same opportunities or exposure? I guess forget about em, girl power equality yada yada yada.

  33. Meggles says:

    I get the criticism, but a) you don’t know who else is participating ahead of time and b) you can’t legally leave because to do things like this you have to sign a contract. Yes, Chastain could try to use her fame as leverage, but it’s very likely they’d just tell her to F off (and possibly threaten her) and find someone to replace her. That’s how Hollywood works. Whatever power we think Chastain has I bet she doesn’t feel it. The movie industry utterly makes women feel replaceable and that you don’t dare put a toe out of line. It’s horrific. Chastain has already shown great bravery.

    Also, she may have made a choice that taking a flawed opportunity that would give her a forum to share her voice was better than allow someone else’s racism to silence her. I don’t know why society thinks the answer to these kinds of problems is for all women to shut themselves away, turn down jobs/careers, and basically make themselves invisible. And yes for MOST women in male-dominated industries the only options are work with bad people at least sometimes or go live silently in a hole eating worms.

    Why is it always a woman’s responsibility to marginalise herself to avoid contact with predators and bigots? Why is it never the responsibility of those people not to BE predators and bigots? Why do we punish women for the crime of working with bad people (god forbid a woman be ambitious!! Stone her!!) so much more harshly than we punish those bad people themselves?

    • Rose says:

      Funny how POC in and out of Hollywood have crossed that line and spoken out against it knowing full well it will hurt your careers. I guess we WOC should just be happy with any support we get.

      How much power do you think POC have? Especially WOC have in the place like Alabama no less and yet they came out in in record numbers and voted. They should have just stayed home because they did enough on social media speaking out against it right.

      Did you try to say Jessica a white woman was silence by racism. I shouldn’t be suprised when you whole comment comes off like a #alllivesmatter movement. You say you get the criticism yet your comment says otherwise.

      • Sky says:

        I thought I was the only one that saw the AllLiveMatter tone in this comment. White feminists what owner support and actions and yet they don’t do the same. They will show support on Twitter and other social media yet fall flat when it’s time for action, but they still what the pat on the back.

  34. Meg says:

    While I don’t disagree here, they’re under contract to promote their films would they have looked unprofessional leaving? This is like abused women not speaking up right away, they feared it would negatively affect their standing at work. U can’t invite WOC if they didn’t lead films. This shouldn’t fall on actresses alone. Studios have to cast audiences have to have empathy for stories of people unlike themselves. This isn’t just up to actresses.

    • Ollie says:

      If any of them had left or made a scene she would have branded difficult and unprofessionel… and we all know what happens with “difficult women” in Hollywood.

  35. SM says:

    I might be in minority here but the only thing I really would call Jessica for is this non excuse excuse she posted in response to criticism. I would say there is a big issue that still lacks much needed attention and spotlight ever since the HW story hit the news stands. The silence and obedience women will persue in order not to anger anyone or not to appear difficult. This is what prompts the system that resists change. As long as you are not someone like Harvey Weinstein or much adored male white actor you risk earning yourself a reputation of a difficult spoiled star as soon as you express a possition that is an inconvenience to someone or just anger someone by disagreeng with them. As we learned this year, manipulating someone’s image is just a part of the game. Or maybe I am wrong and we are already at the point where women are allowed to take a stand and not take a hit for it. Anyhow, if Jessica would respond to the criticism going down this route and not reasigning the blame, I would be more forgiving towards her

  36. Kim says:

    I think this is akin to blaming women who knew about that Weinstein slob’s proclivities and yet didn’t speak up. We say it isn’t their responsibility to shoulder the burden of being outspoken about the obvious problem. We still privately wonder what more they had to gain from being silent rather than outspoken (continued career, praise, acclaim, offered roles, etc. really, it isn’t hard to fathom). These women are no different. They can rock the boat and cause a problem about it or they can smile, pose and go about their business (and make no mistake, it is business). They are participating in a system that profits more off of telling the stories of pretty white women than it does from telling the stories of women of color with different perspectives. I’m not sure that’s cause to 100% condemn them being that I know little to nothing of their day to day lives and the ramifications of the individual choices they make. Given their extreme whiteness, it’s very possible that they live in the white bubble where you get to conveniently not think about how hard things can be for the women who aren’t just like you. I suspect there’s more than a little of that happening here.

  37. ORIGINAL T.C. says:

    My comments last week were that The LA Times should be ashamed of themselves for having an all White panel. They decided on the guest list and it was also they who chose to define the female gender as combosed of only one race. It’s telling that media see WOC as only their race, not their gender. Because clearly Asian, Black, Hispanic-Latino women are not vulnerable to Hollywood’s rape and racist culture.

    This week I am wondering why no one on the panel even mentioned the lack of women of any other race having the privilege of being on that panel. After the Black women who came together in Alabama to rid the country of a pedophile, a racist and a homophobe as well as the “me too” movement created by a Black woman was time’s cover of the year I’m having other thought today.

    Black women are strong enough to stand on their own and have been doing so since they were shipped as sardines across the world and became enslaved, routinely raped, their wombs used to reproduce children that could be sold for money and then enslaved. For centuries. Then we fought for civil rights which not only helped us but other WOC and white women. We can make change on our own. We don’t need to keep asking other women with advantages due to their skin color to think of us or try to help. Human beings by nature are self-interested. So yeah, I’m done. We should work to make society better and just let White women do their own thing and fight for their race.

  38. Doc says:

    Could it be that we expect too much of these people? Just because they’re in the limelight doesn’t automatically mean that they know how to use it (except for extremely narrow minded personal gain). Could it be that they’re all thick as a board? They certainly strike me as being not so smart… so expecting them to acknowledge their surroundings and peers seems to be quite an intellectual leap for all of them… and plus they’re all vain as hell and that’s all they probably think about when showing up to these kinds of things… Looking good, competing for attention, trying to say something which is considered ‘woke’ , in the now or what the hell ever. These ladies have never looked farther from the tips of their own noses smh

  39. TrixC says:

    Not only are they all white, but they’re all pale and North European looking, blonde or redhead. That’s the least diverse looking panel ever.