Entertainment | Diversity

Taika Waititi slams Hollywood diversity crisis

Source / File

By Jonny Mahon-Heap, Stuff

Taika Waititi has sounded off on Hollywood’s diversity crisis during an impassioned address at The Hollywood Reporter’s Raising Our Voices luncheon, on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Waititi criticised the burden placed on indigenous filmmakers to address the after-effects of colonialism, in a powerful address – with plenty of four-letter words – before a room full of Hollywood celebrities including Eva Longoria and Niecy-Nash Betts.

“All of us wanna be working and not having to come and do panels and speeches in the middle of our day,” Waititi said during his address. “This is a great thing. It’s good that we’re talking about it. We have to keep talking about it but this is the s... you’ve got us doing.”

The Thor filmmaker lamented the shortage of indigenous filmmaking as he took the stage.

“You wonder why there is no indigenous stuff out there - this is the s... you’ve got us doing. Making us come and talk about the problem and tell you how to fix it. You broke it - you fix it.”

“It’s like someone coming into your house, stealing all of your s... and burning your house down and then saying ‘OK, we need to have a talk about this.’ And then, saying ‘now, you’re gonna rebuild your house and what can we give you to help you rebuild your house that we burnt down.

“You build the house. You burnt it down. I’ll come back, and hopefully you’ll get it right and if you don’t get it right, we’ll try again.”

Waititi was the keynote speaker for the event and cover star of this week’s edition of The Hollywood Reporter.

He praised his mentor, Merata Mita, for shaping his filmmaking experiences.

“Instead of diversification of the screen, the thing that I really want to see and what I really strive and hope for is a term coined by my mentor Merata Mita, who was the first indigenous and female filmmaker to come out of New Zealand.”

“She is the one who started it all and the term she loved to use was decolonising the screen.”

Waititi concluded his address by asking Hollywood to stop demanding that people of colour and indigenous communities fix the diversity issue.

“Stop asking us what to do, how to fix things, alright? I’m so tired of this, the diversity, inclusivity conversation, all the conversations,” he said.

“It’s not gonna happen in two years, it’s not gonna happen in four years. It’s a long journey. So we’ll stumble, we should stumble together – you guys do most of the stumbling. We will get there but just don’t expect it to be fixed just like that.”

The Raising Our Voices luncheon is the second annual event hosted by The Hollywood Reporter, which the magazine said is “focused on Hollywood’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts”.