Hollywood Actor, Joaquin Phoenix has called power players in the movie industry over their practice of a “systemic racism” that has seen the lack of inclusion thrive in the industry.
Phoenix, while giving his acceptance speech after being awarded at the British Academy Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) as the best lead actor for his role in “Joker”, he said there is a system of exclusion of people of color in the awards and in the industry.
He asked award organisers and movie producers to distort a “system of oppression” in his acceptance speech.
He criticised the lack of diversity in the industry and said it is a problem that can’t be ignored as it has always been.
Phoenix said that while he felt “honored” to be in attendance and appreciated the support from the BAFTA organization, he was “ashamed” that actors of color were not afforded the “same privilege.”
“I feel conflicted because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have that same privilege. I think that we send a very clear message to people of color that you’re not welcome here,” Phoenix said. “I think that’s the message that we’re sending to people that have contributed so much to our medium and our industry and in ways that we benefit from.”
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts was in the midst of controversy last month when it was revealed that no people of color were nominated in the four film acting categories. The Oscar awards have also been roundly criticised for its systemic criticism.
“I don’t think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment, although that’s what we give ourselves every year,” Phoenix continued. “I think people want to be appreciated and respected for their work.”
He described himself as a part of the problem.
“I have not done everything in my power — not all sets I’ve worked on are inclusive,” he added