On Tuesday Banks took the stage to accept the crystal award, which honors the excellence of women in film. During her speech, Banks expressed her frustration with Hollywood and the lack of female protagonists. Banks told the audience to take their kids to see films with strong female roles. She then went on to say Spielberg has never made a movie with a female lead.
“I went to Indiana Jones and Jaws and every movie Steven Spielberg ever made, and by the way, he’s never made a movie with a female lead. Sorry, Steven. I don’t mean to call your ass out but it’s true,” Banks told the crowd.
In reality of the 30 feature films Spielberg has directed, a few had female leads. Some films include The Sugarland Express, which starred Goldie Hawn, The Color Purple, and The BFG. Spielberg is likewise directing the upcoming film The Papers with Meryl Streep .
In no means is that a very large list of films with female leads from such an established director in Hollywood, but Banks’ wording buried her overarching message. While Banks meant for her speech to bring light to the representation of women in Hollywood, she instead stirred trouble with Twitter by not mentioning The Color Purple, which featured a predominantly African-American cast.
Me running to Black Twitter to see the dragging of Elizabeth Banks for ignoring The Color Purple. pic.twitter.com/NLio33fpea— Kelly Boyd (@iamkelly_boyd) June 15, 2017
ELIZABETH BANKS: Steven Spielberg never made a movie with a female lead— Eric Haywood (@EricHaywood) June 15, 2017
AUDIENCE MEMBER: He made "The Color Purple"
ELIZABETH BANKS: pic.twitter.com/gHTjKZS2C4
I did my homework. When you state that Steven Spielberg never made movie with female lead, you clearly don't know about The Color Purple.— Bella (@BellaYvonne25) June 15, 2017
Late Tuesday Anne Thompson, an editor at IndieWire, tweeted that The Color Purple was a flop. Thompson has since deleted her tweet and apologized, but Twitter is not holding back. Banks’ celebrity status is also causing Twitter users to accidentally accuse her of being the one who tweeted about the flop.
"THE COLOR PURPLE WAS A FLOP!"— Eric Haywood (@EricHaywood) June 15, 2017
"Wait, didn't it make $93 million and get 10 Oscar nominations?"
"Yeah, but…but it didn't win any! FLOP!" pic.twitter.com/wiUEuhMoP3
waitaminute. Banks thinks The Color Purple was a flop 😳. it made $98,867,864 in 1985 $'s. that's $234,524,990 adjusted for inflation.— Phil Wynter (@TheIllMechanism) June 15, 2017
Banks clearly meant well, so let’s hope the message is not fully lost.
Update 6:45pm CT, June 15: Banks took to Twitter Thursday evening and apologized.