Director Ava DuVernay Warns White Men Seeking Hollywood Jobs: ‘Bias Can Go Both Ways’

US director and screenwriter and member of the Feature Film Jury Ava DuVernay attends on M

Ava DuVernay has issued an ominous warning to white men who work in the entertainment industry, telling them that she and other powerful black producers may choose not to hire them if they criticize or question diversity in ways that “diminish” people of color.

The Selma filmmaker tweeted her threat on Wednesday in response to a Twitter thread alleging that multiple white males in Hollywood have complained about a recent Facebook post in which a black editor was specifically seeking out other black editors for professional opportunities.

Some of the commenters complained that the request was discriminatory toward white people, according to screenshots from the Facebook group.

“Everyone has a right to their opinion. And we — Black producers with hiring power — have the right to not hire those who diminish us,” Ava DuVernay tweeted. “So, to the white men in this thread… if you don’t get that job you were up for, kindly remember… bias can go both ways. This is 2020 speaking.”

The Twitter thread features screenshots intended to shame certain white men for their criticism of the initial Facebook post. “Lol. This is so illegal,” one commenter wrote. Another commenter noted: “This is complete horseshit. And I would have the same opinion if someone specifically asked for a white editor.”

DuVernay has become one of Hollywood’s most outspoken voices on race since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the ensuing #BlackLivesMatter protests and riots. She has voiced support for the #DefundThePolice movement, calling for police departments around the country to be stripped of taxpayer funds used for certain armed responses.

Last week, she was elected to represent the directors branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) on its board of governors. AMPAS announced shortly thereafter that it will add a diversity requirement for movies to be considered eligible for Oscar nominations.

DuVernay provoked controversy around the release of her movie Selma in 2014 when she and the movie’s cast created a “Hands up, don’t shoot” pose while wearing t-shirts that read “I can’t breathe” as a way to protest the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

She recently confirmed actor David Oyelowo’s claim that many Oscar voters were turned off by the photo and, as a result, wouldn’t vote for the movie, which was nominated for best picture.

AMPAS later apologized to DuVernay and Oyelowo, saying that it was “committed to progress.”

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