The Oscars have a problem. For the second straight year, all 20 acting nominees are white. But while some are searching for solutions and even proposing a boycott of the annual awards ceremony, one African-American actress is running in the opposite direction.
Stacey Dash, best known for playing Dionne in the 1995 movie Clueless before starting a new career years later as a pundit on Fox News, told Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy on Wednesday morning that she finds the boycott threats “ludicrous.”
Why? “Because we have to make up our minds. Either we want to have segregation or integration. If we don’t want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the Image Awards, where you’re only awarded if you’re black. If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It’s a double standard.”
Dash’s proposal seemed to surprise even Doocy, who asked her to clarify that she thinks the BET channel should be abolished. “I don't think so. No. Just like there shouldn’t be a Black History Month,” she said. “We're Americans, period. That’s it.” Until there is a “White History Month,” Dash said, black people don’t need their own.
On Al Sharpton’s assertion that Hollywood is just like the Rocky Mountain (“the higher you go, the whiter it gets”), Dash said, “That's not necessarily true,” before admitting, “If it is, that needs to change.”
Dash also readily conceded that perhaps the Academy needs to be “more integrated and there need to be more diverse people in the process of electing” nominees. But she seemed shocked to learn that the group is predominantly made up of older white men. “Really?” she asked.
“I hope they’re looking for the best movies and the best actors,” she concluded. “The good news is that there’s attention brought to it now. But like I said, over the past eight years, we’ve had a president who is black, who gets his funding mainly from Hollywood, the elite liberals. So it’s odd to me that this has now become such an issue.”
Following the show, Dash used her Patheos blog to defend her comments after, in her words, people started “going nuts” about what she said on Fox. As she noted, it’s not the first time she has spoken out against Black History Month and she cited actor Morgan Freeman as someone who agrees with her.
On a 2005 episode of 60 Minutes, Freeman called Black History Month “ridiculous,” saying, “You’re going to relegate my history to a month? I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.’ He added that the only way to eliminate racism is to “stop talking about it.”
Dash’s comments apparently caught the attention of none other than Donald Trump, who was on Fox & Friends later in the morning and may have been watching her from the green room.
“I saw somebody on your show today say, ‘What do we do with BET, Black Entertainment, right?’ The whites don’t get any nominations. And I thought it was an amazing interview, actually. I’ve never even thought of it from that standpoint,” Trump said. “But with all of that being said, it would certainly be nice if everybody could be represented properly. And hopefully that’s the case, but perhaps it’s not the case. It’s a difficult situation.”
Just yesterday, The View’s Whoopi Goldberg, an Oscar winner herself, also argued against the boycott, but not because she thinks Hollywood doesn’t have a diversity problem. “I’m not going to boycott, but I’m going to continue to bitch as I have all year round because I’m tired of seeing movies where no one is represented except a bit of the population,” she said, encouraging viewers to boycott non-representative films instead of award shows.
Yet Dash’s comments on abolishing Black History Month—“We’re Americans, period.”—do echo recent remarks made by Goldberg this month. In response to a joke about leaving the country should Trump become president, Goldberg said, “You know what? Uh uh! This is my country. My mother, my grandmother, my great-grand folks, we busted ass to be here. I’m sorry. I’m an American. I’m not an African American, I’m not a chick American, I’m an American!”
UPDATE: BET responded to Dash with the pointed tweet below Wednesday afternoon. Between 2009 and 2011, the actress appeared on five episodes of The Game on the network she now thinks should be taken off the air.