Today’s morning cup of fresh #WhiteTears comes from Stephen Verona, a member of the Academy’s directors branch.

No longer being able to sit back and be “lumped in as a racist,” he penned a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter series on the #OscarsSoWhite international discussion, where he attempted to show receipts for his inclusion history.

He started out by being quite offended at the stereotype old white men receive, writing:
“I’m one of those “old white guys” who was flabbergasted and then outraged when I saw the position taken by Cheryl Boone Isaacs and the Board of Governors.”

He goes on to try and dispel claims of racism by highlighting the fact her gave Gladys Knight her big acting break.

“I also gave Gladys Knight her first dramatic acting role in ‘Pipe Dreams.”

He then called out Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee, saying their comments were totally out of line, because he would “never, never hire anyone because of their race, religion or political beliefs.”

He even suggested that Spike Lee should return his honorary Oscar since he’s “so incensed” by the notion that the Oscars don’t recognize diverse films and actors.

He even tried to come up with an analogy for the situation, to really break down to us how absurd he feels the #OscarsSoWhite discussion is by saying:

“Try telling the NBA to hire more white, Latino, Chinese or Eskimo basketball players and see the backlash.”

In conclusion, he summed it up by saying that if diverse people made movies that were up to the standard of the Academy, then they would win an Oscar nod and possibly take home the award:

“If people make better movies, they will be rewarded. That’s as simple as it can be.”

Which, Mr. Verona, is exactly the problem. Movies are held to the standard of old, white, men and have been since the Academy’s inception, which is exactly what the #OscarsSoWhite discussion and controversy is all about.


About The Author Samantha Callender

Samantha Callender is a multimedia journalist whose work ranges from entertainment journalism to pieces highlighting social issues in multicultural communities. Samantha strives to find intersects between entertainment and social matters, believing that pop culture has the power to not only entertain the masses, but to educate them as well. Her goal when storytelling is to write pieces that serve as a catalyst to prompt dialogue and activism. Her work can be seen on VIBE, The Source, Jet Magazine, The Root, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

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