Meryl Streeps Faces Backlash After Commenting 'We're All Africans Really'

Pam WrightLife

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Meryl Streep dismissed questions about the all-white panel at the Berlin Film Festival Thursday by commenting that "we're all Africans really," which has ignited a furor on the internet.

According to CBS News, Streep, who heads up a seven-member jury, said she was committed to equality and inclusion "of all genders, races, ethnicities, religions."

"This jury is evidence that at least women are included and in fact dominate this jury, and that's an unusual situation in bodies of people who make decisions," Streep said. "So I think the Berlinale is ahead of the game."

In response to a question asking whether she understood films from the Arab world and North Africa, Streep said that while she didn't know much about the region, "I've played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures."

"There is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture, and after all we're all from Africa originally," she said. "Berliners, we're all Africans really."

Social media posts were strewn with expressions of disbelief and anger over Streeps' comments.

The festival opens Thursday with the jury's other members, German actor Lars Eidinger, British film critic Nick James, French photographer Brigitte Lacombe, British actor Clive Owen, Italian actress Alba Rohrwacher and Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska, deciding who goes home with the coveted Golden Bear.

The Coen brothers' comedy "Hail, Caesar!" starring George Clooney, Josh Brolin and a slew of other A-list celebrities kicked off the festival on Thursday.

Pam Wright