Actor Richard Dreyfuss blasted woke inclusion standards in Hollywood during an interview this week, saying that it was “patronizing” because it treats people like they are children.
Dreyfuss — who is known for “What About Bob?,” “American Graffiti,” “Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” and more — made the remarks on PBS’s “Firing Line with Margaret Hoover” after discussing at length a variety of issues related to the decline of civics education in the U.S.
The subject of Hollywood inclusion standards came up when Hoover mentioned that, starting next year, “films will be required to meet new inclusion standards to be eligible for the Academy Award for Best Picture.”
“They’ll have to have a certain percentage of actors or crew from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups,” she said. “What do you think of these new inclusion standards for films?”
“They make me vomit,” Dreyfuss responded. “Because this is an art form. It’s also a form of commerce, and it makes money. But it’s an art. And no one should be telling me as an artist that I have to give in to the latest, most current idea of what morality is. And what are we risking? Are we really risking hurting people’s feelings? You can’t legislate that. And – you have to let life be life.”
“And I’m sorry, I don’t think that there is a minority or a majority in the country that has to be catered to like that,” he continued. “You know, Laurence Olivier was the last white actor to play Othello, and he did it in 1965. And he did it in blackface. And he played a black man brilliantly. Am I being told that I will never have a chance to play a black man? Is someone else being told that if they’re not Jewish, they shouldn’t play the Merchant of Venice? Are we crazy? Do we not know that art is art? This is so patronizing. It’s so thoughtless, and treating people like children.”