Michael Keaton’s “Hidden Fences” Response Was A Missed Opportunity

Photo: Steve Granitz/Getty.
Gabrielle Union visited the View on Tuesday, where she was asked about the “Hidden Fences” flubs that set the internet on fire during Sunday’s Golden Globes. Jenna Bush and Michael Keaton both mistakenly conflated the films Hidden Figures and Fences. Bush released a swift apology on Today that was accepted by Hidden Figures producer Pharrell and actress Octavia Spencer. Keaton sarcastically said he was sorry to TMZ while leaving dinner. Union noted the difference, claiming that Keaton’s “non-apology spoke volumes.” Even though people like Whoopi Goldberg, who loves to troll by playing devil’s advocate, would like us to think that these incidents are completely apolitical, there is absolutely a bigger picture here. That’s why Union’s comment on Keaton was so on point. I’ve already talked about the kind of privilege that allows these mistakes to be swept under the rug. It’s the same privilege that encouraged Keaton to to say in so many words: I don’t care.
The issue here is bigger that Hidden Figures, Fences, or “Hidden Fences.” Union addressed the “subconscious” tendency to “lump all movies about people of color in one group.” She agrees that in doing so it “diminishes and marginalizes the excellent films and work.” I couldn’t agree more. Bush’s apology was received well because she acknowledged how her mistake could have been offensive, regardless of her intention. Keaton literally stumbled upon an opportunity to be part of a bigger conversation, and he passed. In his insistence on still getting a good night’s rest, Keaton chose condescension and silence, both more offensive than his teleprompter mishap.

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