Meryl Streep touched off a social media storm with he comments about the lack of diversity on her jury panel at the Berlin Film Festival (Photo: ScreenCap)

Meryl Streep touched off a social media storm with he comments about the lack of diversity on her jury panel at the Berlin Film Festival (Photo: ScreenCap)

Meryl Streep is being called onto the carpet, and it isn’t red. The three-time Oscar winner was responding to a question about the all-white makeup of the international film jury at the Berlin Film Festival. Her comments touched off a social media backlash today (Feb. 11).

The international jury will be judging films from Africa, the Middle East and other areas of the world.

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Streep, obviously had the best intentions when she tried to answer the difficult question about the lack of diversity on the panel. The subject is a hot-button in the film industry right now, because no minorities were nominated for Oscars this year.

“The thing that I notice is that 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,” she said.

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She noted that females make up a majority of jury members who come from diverse backgrounds, including a film critic, photographer and actors and actresses. She said the panel would have diverse viewpoints.

“There should be inclusion and 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,” she said. “So I think that the Berlinale is ahead of the game.”

A foreign journalist pressed the issue asking if she felt she was qualified to judge the films.

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“We will be looking at different things in these films but we’re human beings and film is an emotional experience, so… we’re going to make these decisions based on what our heads want to say,” she explained.

But social media scolds were having none of it.

“Meryl Streep is so good at acting I never even realized she was African American this whole time,” wrote one critic.

“I want to be shocked by what Meryl Streep said, but she’s an older white woman,” wrote another. “Shame she can’t be Barack Obama in his life story anymore.”

“We are all tetrapods,” says #MerylStreep, offending arthropods everywhere,” added another.

#MerylStreep says “We’re all African” as a way 2erase the reality of systematic racism & oppression on BLACK PEOPLE.She disgusts me so much,” wrote still another.

Streep’s comment is accurate, of course–from a historical standpoint. Scientists have concluded that the origins of humankind can be traced back to ancestors who originated out of Africa. On the downside, that was about 100,000 years ago.

The subject of national origin today is a cultural flash point. The lack of diversity in Hollywood has been a hot button issue for years.

Streep, who serving for the first time on a film jury, obviously tried to be diplomatic to avoid offending her host. But while her intent was well-meaning, it’s hard to see how she advanced cultural diversity with her comments.

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