Joaquin Phoenix Calls Out Film Industry’s “Systemic Racism” in BAFTA Speech

"We send a very clear message to people of color that you're not welcome here," he said

Joaquin Phoenix
Actor Joaquin Phoenix attends a screening of the film 'Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot.' (Mat Hayward/Getty Images for Seattle International Film Festival)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / February 3, 2020 9:47 am

While we were all glued to our seats watching the Super Bowl on Sunday night (Feb. 2), Joaquin Phoenix was across the pond accepting a Best Actor BAFTA for his performance in Joker, and he used his speech to call out the industry’s lack of diversity.

While he said he felt “honored” to have the privilege of being supported by the BAFTAs, he added that “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. 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.”

“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.”

The actor also admitted that he’s “part of the problem,” saying, “I have not done everything in my power — not all sets I’ve worked on are inclusive.”

You can watch Phoenix’s speech below.

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