Words from director Antoine Fuqua while doing press in the UK where his latest effort, Olympus Has Fallen, which is set to be released in theaters there this week. Apparently he was asked whether he felt the American studio system was a racist one, likely in regards to the dearth of black talents in front of and behind the camera.
“I wouldn’t use the term racist, as much as I would say the playing field is not even in Hollywood. But ultimately, you have to put in the work [...] It’s very easy to cry racism when you’re not qualified to do the work or your work isn’t transcending to where you want it to be. Hollywood is a business and you have to look at it that way [...] I do see other things – like people who don’t understand or are ignorant to our culture. But I wouldn’t call them racist. If anything, it’s our job to expand their minds to our experience [...] There are no African Americans that run major studios and most of the executives at the top level are not African American. So when the people in those jobs are developing stories, nine times out of 10, their stories won’t be about African Americans – they’ll be about people who look like themselves. To say that those people are racist is not necessarily the case [...] 99.9 per cent of the people that have given me my opportunities in this business were not African American [...] Denzel [Washington] gave me a great opportunity when we did Training Day together, and I also became friends with Mr Sidney Poitier, who has given me great counsel and advice. But in terms of people in the studio system, most of the people who have given me my jobs were not African American. So I can’t sit back and say Hollywood is racist.”