A lack of diversity in Hollywood is certainly nothing new, and while it is vital to open up such an important topic for conversation, be prepared for some awkward and terrible responses. The latest bit of word vomit comes from Tim Burton, who was asked by Bustle about the blinding whiteness of his latest film, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, and the general lack of diversity in his entire repertoire of films. It does not go well.
“Nowadays, people are talking about it more,” he says regarding film diversity. But “things either call for things, or they don’t. I remember back when I was a child watching The Brady Bunch and they started to get all politically correct. Like, OK, let’s have an Asian child and a black. I used to get more offended by that than just… I grew up watching blaxploitation movies, right? And I said, that’s great. I didn’t go like, OK, there should be more white people in these movies.”
Oof. Tim. Buddy. “I grew up watching blaxploitation movies” is the new “I have a black friend.” The fact that Burton doesn’t even think to create a more diverse cast is part of the problem. Who cares about the variety of people watching his film as long as his perspective as a white man is represented, am I right?
Samuel L. Jackson, the villain of the film and sole person of color in the cast, chimed in, saying that while he noticed the lack of diversity, he’s willing to vouch for Burton.
“I had to go back in my head and go, how many black characters have been in Tim Burton movies?” Jackson says. “And I may have been the first, I don’t know, or the most prominent in that particular way, but it happens the way it happens. I don’t think it’s any fault of his or his method of storytelling, it’s just how it’s played out. Tim’s a really great guy.”