Oscar nominee Rampling calls awards boycott racist toward whites

Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:36pm EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British actress and first-time Academy Award nominee Charlotte Rampling said Friday that her comments calling the boycott of the Oscars protesting the absence of black actors and directors "racist toward whites," was misinterpreted.

Rampling said in a statement to CBS News that she regretted that the comments she had made to a French radio journalist, which had led to backlash against the veteran actress.

"I simply meant to say that in an ideal world every performance will be given equal opportunities for consideration. I am very honored to be included in this year's wonderful group of nominated actors and actresses," Rampling said.

In an interview aired earlier on Friday on Europe 1 radio, Rampling was asked if she felt African-American director Spike Lee was right to pledge to boycott the Oscars over the absence of blacks among the nominees.

"No, I find to the contrary, that it's racist toward whites," said Rampling, who is nominated for her role in the British drama "45 Years."

When asked to elaborate, Rampling said "one can never really know," but that "perhaps sometimes black actors have not earned a place in the final running."

Rampling's comments came amid a wave of protest over the lack of minorities among the major nominees, including the re-emergence on social media of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, which first appeared during the 2015 awards season.

Oscars organizers the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced major changes in its membership rules, pledging to double its membership of women and minorities by 2020, and stripping voting rights from inactive members.   Continued...

British actress Charlotte Rampling receives the Lifetime Achievement Award during the 28th European Film Award ceremony in Berlin, Germany December 12, 2015.   REUTERS/Clemens Bilan/Pool