Posted on January 20, 2016

Donald Trump Says All-White Oscars Nomination Doesn’t Matter–Because Black People Have the BET Awards

Harriet Alexander, Telegraph, January 20, 2016

Donald Trump has criticised the growing campaign to boycott this year’s Oscars over the Academy’s failure to nominate black actors, saying that African Americans have been nominated previously–and noting that they have their own awards.

Mr Trump said the lack of African Americans among the 20 nominees was a “tough situation.”

Jada Pinkett Smith, the actress, called for a boycott and director Spike Lee said he would not attend. Since then, Pinkett Smith has been joined by the Reverend Al Sharpton and documentary maker Michael Moore. Lupita Nyong’o, who won in February 2014, and two-time winner George Clooney both backed the campaign but stopped short of saying they would stay away.

But Mr Trump said he had been impressed by an earlier interview on Fox News in which someone said, “What do we do with BET, Black Entertainment? Right? So, there the whites don’t get any nominations.”

Mr Trump said he thought that was an “amazing interview actually” and that he had “never even thought of it from that standpoint.”

He continued: “It would certainly be nice if everybody could be represented properly.

“Hopefully that’s the case, but maybe it’s not the case.

“If somebody deserves it. I mean, I’ve watched over the years where African Americans have in fact received Academy Awards and have in fact been represented. And this is not one of those years, but over the years I’ve seen numerous black actors and African American actors receive awards and I think that’s great. This doesn’t happen to be one of those years.”

The 6,000-odd members of the Academy, who vote for their peers, are life-members of the club, and overwhelmingly white and male. A 2014 study found that only four per cent of members were from ethnic minorities.

Chris Rock, the black comedian hosting the February 28 show, has so far laughed off pressure to pull out.

But Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the president of the Academy, who is black and has been praised for her work in increasing diversity, said she was working urgently to reform the system.