Has Meryl Streep Been Redeemed by This Correction On Her 'We're All Africans' Quote?

Illustration for article titled Has Meryl Streep Been Redeemed by This Correction On Her 'We're All Africans' Quote?

A story about Meryl Streep’s response to questions at the Berlin International Film Festival went very viral, because it seemed like she was saying the Oscars don’t have a diversity problem, since white people are essentially African. Turns out, that’s not exactly what happened.


The story was initially filed by the AP on February 11. Then on February 20, a correction was issued by Mashable, apropos of nothing. They wrote above their original article:

CORRECTION: Meryl Streep’s “We’re all Africans, really” comment was a direct response to a question about Arab and African films, not a response to questions about the Berlinale Film Festival’s all white jury, as the article and headline originally suggested. A recording of the panel shows that Streep’s original comments were misrepresented in subsequent reports.

At the panel, a reporter from Egypt spoke about how the festival had a film “representing Tunisia, the Arab world and Africa in the main competition” and followed that up with a question for Streep: “How do you see this part of the world? And is it easy for you to understand that culture? And are you following any of the Arab movies?”

This was Streep’s response.

“Yes, in fact I’ve just seen a film called Theeb, which I loved. I saw Timbuktu recently … I don’t know very much about, honestly, about the Middle East, and yet I’ve played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures. The thing that I notice is that we’re all, there is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture. And, after all, we’re all from Africa originally. We’re all Berliners, we’re all Africans, really.”

That contextualizes her comments somewhat, I guess? They were as baffling as they were outrageous, and now they’re just kinda classic out-of-touch-actor eye roll inducing. Upgrade!

Image via Getty.

Contact the author at aimee.lutkin@jezebel.com.



It’s a little more than “not exactly what happened.”

The original article said that Streep said it was OK that the committee was all white because we’re all Africans anyway and also there are women on it. She was roundly and loudly criticized and mocked in the press for it.

In reality, when asked if she enjoys and connects to films about the Middle East she said that she sees a common thread in all cultures and that all of them originated in Africa.

That was, admittedly, a pretty weird answer but it’s true, a nice sentiment, and a hell of a lot different than her basically saying white people count as diversity because they share an common ancestor with Black people.

Yes, she’s redeemed (and I hope every site that jumped on the bandwagon issues a similar correction).