During a press conference at the Berlin Film Festival last week, jury president Meryl Streep found herself in some hot water after she made a few comments about gender and racial equality in the film industry. It appears, however, that the outrage was misplaced. Although it was previously reported that Meryl sidestepped a question about why the jury is all white by saying, "This jury is evidence that at least women are included — and in fact dominate — in this jury, and that's an unusual situation in bodies of people who make decisions, so I think that the Berlinale is ahead of the game," it appears that the question was originally directed at fellow jury member and German actor Lars Eidinger. As you can see in footage from the press conference, Lars is the one who avoids the question, and Meryl's response is to a separate, later question about women's rights.
The comments that really brought the heat of the Internet down on the Suffragette actress came later, when the AP reported that an Egyptian journalist had asked her if she'd seen any Arab movies lately and if it's easy for her to understand that culture. Meryl responded by saying, "I've played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures. The thing that I've noticed is that 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," which is a more empathetic statement than what many had initially considered.
Tall Image Source: Getty / Dominique Charriau