Samuel L. Jackson Blasts Jodi Foster’s Diversity Statements, Predicts ‘Tokenism’ Backlash From #OscarsSoWhite Saga

Ny MaGee - Author
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Aug. 23 2017, Updated 4:19 a.m. ET

Samuel L. Jackson disagrees with Jodie Foster’s theory that Hollywood is currently risk-averse. The actress and director made the claim last month while promoting her latest film Money Monster at Cannes. She asserted that over the past few years, Hollywood has become more reluctant to work with women. However, Jackson believes her film, which stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts, is in fact part of the bigger problem.

During an appearance on the U.K. TV show This Morning, Jackson told hosts Holly Willoughby and Phil Schofield, “There’s a lot of stuff going on that she [Jodie] is just not part of… and she made a pretty straight ahead kind of genre film with George Clooney, come on? She didn’t go out and find some racially diverse people to put in her movie.”

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The Snakes on a Plane star went on to argue that Hollywood has actually become increasingly diverse in recent years.

“No, [Hollywood] is not necessarily risk averse. People tend to do things that are successful… [but] I think there are more films and television shows for sure that deal with real life issues,” he said. “There are transgender people and gay people all over television, there are specifically more Asian, Hispanic and black people on television – and behind the scenes – creating and doing things. I mean, Jodie has a voice about that but I see a lot more things happening… a lot more women heroes, a lot more interesting couples on television in terms of mixed race, especially in America – you guys have had that for a very long time – and I see the exact opposite.”

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The Avengers actor, who is married to actress LaTanya Richardson, also believes that the endless talk about diversity and the backlash from #OscarsSoWhite will have people seeing inclusion as a form of tokenism. Jackson believes the aftermath of this year’s Oscars controversy will have actors of color questioning whether any future awards, honors, or roles are deserved or simply race-motivated consolations.

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The Academy was heavily scrutinized earlier this year for failing to nominate any black actors. All 20 slots in the four acting categories were dominated by white actors for the second year in a row, sparking widespread outrage. Jackson explained his thoughts on the aftermath of #OscarsSoWhite. “I know there is going to be an interesting sort of backlash,” he said on This Morning. “Things will happen, and there will be films with people of color that have directed them, and are acting in them, and all of a sudden you’ll have to start thinking ‘Well, did they do this because they had that controversy last year, or am I really worthy of this award? Are they doing this as some kind of token thing, or am I really worthy?’… So you create a whole other set of circumstances that aren’t necessary, and hopefully those films and those people will be worthy.”

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The Satellite notes that the Pulp Fiction star also spoke about his involvement in the One for the Boys campaign, which encourages men to take their health seriously and highlights male cancer awareness.

“Men don’t tend to pay attention to their bodies like women… and men, especially in this country die from stomach cancer more than women, and men do get breast cancer and lung cancer, and skin cancer and whole lot of other things that they don’t talk about,” he said. “We [men] are taught not to talk about our pain and just tough it out and be a man, and we just don’t go to the doctors as often as women.”

Samuel L. Jackson gave an overall lighthearted and humorous interview with Holly and Phil and at one point, he gave Phil the side-eye when he uttered the words “Donald Trump.” He told the hosts, “That was the look my momma gave me when I said something that didn’t really make sense, made no sense whatsoever,” Jackson said. You can watch the segment via the video clip above, per Metro.

[Photo by Vianney Le Caer/AP Images]

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