Jane Campion Apologizes to 'Legendary' Serena and Venus Williams for 'Thoughtless' Comment

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Jane Campion, Venus Williams and Serena Williams
Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association / Steve Granitz/Getty Images

Jane Campion is apologizing. The filmmaker caused controversy on Sunday at the 27th annual Critics Choice Awards, when she made a comment about Serena and Venus Williams during an acceptance speech.

Campion took home the awards for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for her work on The Power of the Dog at the ceremony. It was while accepting the former award that Campion said, "Serena and Venus, you are such marvels. However, you do not play against the guys like I have to."

Following backlash for the comment, Campion issued a statement apologizing to the tennis stars, who were at the ceremony in support of King Richard, a film about their father, Richard Williams. Will Smith took home the Best Actor award for his starring role in the film at Sunday's ceremony.

"I made a thoughtless comment equating what I do in the film world with all that Serena Williams and Venus Williams have achieved," Campion shared in a statement obtained by ET on Monday. "I did not intend to devalue these two legendary Black women and world-class athletes."

"The fact is the Williams sisters have, actually, squared off against men on the court (and off), and they have both raised the bar and opened doors for what is possible for women in this world," the statement continued. "The last thing I would ever want to do is minimize remarkable women. I love Serena and Venus. Their accomplishments are titanic and inspiring."

The statement concluded, "Serena and Venus, I apologize and completely celebrate you."

During her speech, Campion also gushed over the Williams sisters, stating, "It's stunning to be here tonight amongst so many incredible women... Venus and Serena, what an honor to be in a room with you."

Campion additionally spoke about her own tennis skills, telling the King Richard table, "I've taken up tennis. I truly have. Will, if you want to come over and give me lessons I would truly love it. I actually had to stop playing because I got tennis elbow."

Watch the video below for more from Sunday's Critics Choice Awards.

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