That Time ‘Variety’ Generalized Kristen Stewart’s Commentary and She Got Unfairly Criticized for Racism
Here’s what happened, in short: Kristen Stewart comments on gender inequality; Variety leaves out the part that she’s discussing gender inequality, incorrectly assuming she was making some insensitive comments about diversity; the Internet, being the Internet, proceeds to blast Stewart for her seemingly racist comments.
*sighs…media* Let’s discuss.
You may have seen the headlines (and subsequent public rage) yesterday after Variety goofed up and mislabeled their interview with K-Stew, writing that Stewart called the racial diversity conversation “boring.”
More or less the media’s subsequent headlines about the video read along the lines of, “Kristen Stewart Weighs In on Diversity in Hollywood: ‘Instead of Sitting Around Complaining About That, Do Something’.”
Yeah, not great; a PR nightmare.
In fact, Stewart was commenting on gender inequality. The interviewer (we see now) asked Stewart, “A lot of people that have come through here have been like ‘There’s a lack of great roles for women,’ or ‘there aren’t enough female directors.’ Do you feel like it’s changing though?”
In any business that’s so old, it’s gonna have a somewhat narrow view, and it’s expanding quickly on so many levels. It’s hard for me to speak to that because it’s awkward. I’m so fucking lucky and so stimulated and so driven and like, not bored, and I have something in front of me all the time.
So it sounds weird for me to sit around and be like, “It’s not fair!” Guys make more money because their movies make more money. Let’s start making more movies. It makes sense.
If you’re bored, or if you feel like there’s a lack of something in front of you, it’s silly for me to say, “Go do something…” But like I came from a family, my mom’s an artist, she’s a painter, she’s a script supervisor as well. So like, when she wasn’t working she was making something. She was never bored. Instead of sitting around and complaining about that, do something [she whispered]. Go write something, go do something.
And you know, that’s easy for me to say, like fuck, it’s hard to get movies made. It’s a huge luxury. Who gets to just make movies? But that subject is just like so prevalently everywhere right now, and it’s boring.
Variety has since been forced to issue a correction on their video: “An earlier version of the text accompanying this video erroneously attributed Stewart’s comments to “diversity.” We have since clarified above that her comments were addressing gender equality.” They also updated their video with a longer one that includes the interviewer’s question in the beginning.
Correction: Kristen Stewart was addressing gender equality, not diversity, in this Variety video segment https://t.co/gDlQbTz0wQ
— Variety (@Variety) January 26, 2016
Now, of course, the headlines tell a different story: “How Kristen Stewart was unfairly blasted for racism after Variety video goof” (The Washington Post); “Kristen Stewart comments on ‘boring’ racial diversity incorrectly reported” (NME); “The Storm Over Kristen Stewart’s ‘Diversity’ Comments Show Context Is Everything” (The Huffington Post); and from Variety itself, “Correction: Kristen Stewart Sundance Comments Weren’t About Diversity.”
Variety further clarifies in the article, “Comments made in a videotaped interview Monday with actress Kristen Stewart about gender equality in Hollywood at the Sundance Film Festival were erroneously labeled on Variety.com in a way that suggested she was addressing issues pertaining to diversity. Variety regrets the error and apologizes for any confusion.”
Modern-day online journalism is fueled by click-bait, of course, but if you’re going to report in the first place, you best make sure your reporting is correctly rooted in accurate context, lest you unfairly publicly lambast your subject and set Twitter ablaze for all the wrong reasons.
Stewart did actually comment on racial diversity in Hollywood to E! news while at the Sundance premiere for her latest film Certain Women on Jan. 24. This is what she said: