At the Crystal & Lucy Awards on Tuesday, Elizabeth Banks accepted an award "for excellence in features" and used her acceptance speech to take a poorly-researched shot at director Steven Spielberg.
"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," Banks told the audience, according to The Wrap. She continued:
"Sorry, Steven. I don't mean to call your ass out, but it's true."
At that point, an amateur fact-checker in the crowd reportedly shouted something about The Color Purple, a 1985 picture by Spielberg and starring Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. According to The Wrap, Banks ignored the comment and "moved on."
You could still consider her point partly valid. Vulture points out that Spielberg only has three movies with female leads over a career consisting of 30 feature films:
Since starting out with Firelight in 1964, Steven Spielberg has directed 30 feature films. His second movie, The Sugarland Express, from 1974, starred Goldie Hawn, but he didn’t make another female-fronted feature until nine years later with The Color Purple. After that, it took another 32 years for Spielberg to make a little girl his main character in the critically well-received flop, The BFG, from 2016, but even that was mostly a showcase for Mark Rylance’s Big Friendly Giant. His upcoming drama The Papers, starring Meryl Streep as Washington Post publisher Kay Graham, will be his first to star an adult woman since 1985.
But although her point was partly fair, her facts were definitely not.
And she's spent the hours since being savaged on Twitter.
Not helping her case, by the way, is the fact that The Color Purple stars women of color, and as the Huffington Post and The Daily Beast point out, Banks' movie Pitch Perfect is chock full of "tone-deaf racial jokes."
After a Banks-defender apparently responded that The Color Purple was a "flop," Twitter got even more heated.
So far, neither Banks nor Spielberg has responded to the controversy. Although Spielberg doesn't have a Twitter, so we can't be sure he's aware of it.
SOMEONE GET SPIELBERG ON THE PHONE AND MAKE HIM FEEL BAD.
It's an emergency.