Oscar-winning Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who won last year’s directing prize for Best Picture Birdman, spoke out last night against anti-immigration rhetoric and apparently even Donald Trump’s hosting gig on Saturday Night Live.
“These sentiments,”Iñárritu said at a Los Angeles gala, referring to “constant and relentless xenophobic” comments, “have been widely spread by the media without shame, embraced and cheered by leaders and communities around the U.S. The foundation of all this is so outrageous that it can easily be minimized as an SNL sketch, a mere entertainment, a joke.”
Iñárritu, whose Leonardo DiCaprio/Tom Hardy-starrer The Revenant opens Christmas Day, was a guest of honor (along with artist James Turrell) at the annual Los Angeles County Museum of Art & Film gala. Iñárritu praised the museum’s efforts to change L.A.’s cultural dynamics “by making art accessible, fun, and exciting to a diverse society.”
In his speech (which can be read in full in English and Spanish), Iñárritu soon turned to topical matters. “I debated with myself, if I should bring up this uncomfortable subject tonight,” he said, “but in light of the constant and relentless xenophobic comments that have been expressed recently against my Mexican fellows, it is inevitable.”
“These comments would be unacceptable if they were targeted against another minority, nevertheless, these millions of people do not have a voice or any rights — even though they have lived here all of their lives,” he said, adding, “Words have real power; and similar words in the past have both created and triggered enormous suffering for millions of humans beings, especially throughout the last century.
“If we continue to allow these words to water seeds of hate, and spread inferior thoughts and unwholesome emotions around the world to every human being, not only will millions of Mexicans and Latin American immigrants be in danger, but immigrants around the world now suffering, will share the same dangerous fate.”
Iñárritu also opposed the term illegal immigrants. “I would rather propose to call these people Undocumented Dreamers, as were most of the people who founded this country. By naming them that, we can instead start a real and human conversation for a solution, with the most precious, forgotten, and distinguished emotion a human being can have: Compassion.”
Iñárritu, who lives in Mexico City, was honored the same night that protesters, including Latino groups, picketed in New York against NBC’s decision to book Donald Trump as SNL host.