Meryl Streep is clarifying comments she made at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this month, pushing back against reports that she was defending the festival's all-white jury by saying, "We're all Africans really."
In a Huffington Post op-ed, the Oscar winner wrote, "Contrary to distorted reporting, no one at that press conference addressed a question to me about the racial makeup of the jury. I did not 'defend' the 'all-white jury,' nor would I, if I had been asked to do so. Inclusion -- of races, genders, ethnicities and religions -- is important to me, as I stated at the outset of the press conference."
The Berlin International Film Festival marked the first time Steep headed a jury.
Streep, 66, said her comment was in response to a question from an Egyptian reporter, who had asked if she had seen many Arab films.
The actress admitted then that she didn't "know very much about" Arab films, but said, "There is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture, and after all, we're all from Africa originally, you know? We're all Berliners, we're all Africans, really."
"I was not minimizing difference," Streep wrote, "but emphasizing the invisible connection empathy enables, a thing so central to the fact of being human, and what art can do: convey another person's experience."
Streep concluded her op-ed by writing, "I do defend all the choices the jury made. This is work we took very seriously. I hope the press will shower [festival winners] Yang Chao, Lav Diaz, Mohamed Ben Attia, Gianfranco Rosi and the other artists we honored with as much energetic attention as that directed at my misconstrued remarks. Their work is newsworthy, and deserves celebration. It reflects a diversity of place, race, viewpoint and humanity that should not be invisible in America."
According to The Associated Press, the jury's diversity was brought up three times during the press conference.