Jessica Chastain Speaks About Tolerance & Receives Racist Responses

Jessica ChastainJessica Chastain won the Most Valuable Player Award at the Critics Choice Awards for her work in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, A Most Violent Year, Miss Julie, and Interstellar. It was the first year the award had ever been given out. During her acceptance speech, Chastain spoke about diversity and the need for more of it and more acceptance of people’s differences.

After the usual thank you’s, Chastain then noted that it was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, what would have been his 86th. She spoke about the “need to build the strength of diversity,” in Hollywood.

“Today is Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, so it got me thinking about our need to build the strength of diversity in our industry, and to stand together against homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, and racist agendas,” Chastain said in her speech. “I’m an optimist and I can’t help but feel hopeful about the future of film, especially looking at all of the beautiful people in this room. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter’, and I would like to encourage everyone in this room to please speak up. Thank you.”

The remarks were well-received by most for their hopeful and positive tone. However, Chastain said that she was stunned by some of the reactions that she received on social media, calling them ‘strange.”

Many people drew a connection between her remarks and the lack of diversity in this year’s Academy Award nominations, which were widely criticized for their lack of diversity, as all of the acting nominees are white. Chastain said that her remarks were not intended to be a reflection of her opinion on the Academy Award nominees, but to draw attention to a larger issue.

“I’ve had really terrible people who are racists comment on the speech and say really terrible things,” Chastain said in an interview with CBS News. “I’m understanding that some people in this world, how much hate they can have. Some people had taken my speech and then made it about awards – like SAG Awards or Oscars. That’s not what my speech was about. To me awards are just a reflection. It’s just a symptom of the disease and the disease is in the industry. If we had more diversity in our films it would be reflected in diversity in the nominees.”

Chastain remains unfazed by the criticism and has no intention of backing down from speaking out about the issue in the future. She even acknowledged that, as a member of the entertainment industry, she is “part of the problem”.

“We all need to work together to fix it,” Chastain said.

Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain

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3 thoughts on “Jessica Chastain Speaks About Tolerance & Receives Racist Responses

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  3. Pingback: Jessica Chastain Covers Telegraph UK | Music In the Dark

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