The gaffe happened during an interview with Pharrell Williams, who scored the film and also was a producer. “So, you’re nominated for ‘Hidden Fences,’” Bush Hager began, confusing the period drama with Denzel Washington’s Fences and prompting a confused look from Williams. Both films revolve around African-American characters, which resulted in a Twitterverse explosion of comments criticizing the Today correspondent.
Hager apologized this morning. “I had an error in the night which I have to apologize for,” she said. “When I was interviewing the incomparable Pharrell, who I adore, I accidentally in the electricity of the red carpet, which I had never done, called Hidden Figures, Hidden Fences.” She went on to note she knows the difference between the films, saying: “I have seen both movies. I thought they were both brilliant. I interviewed cast from both of the movies.”
She continued, “If I offended people, I am deeply sorry. It was a mistake, because you all know I am not perfect. I am authentic but a human, and what I didn’t want to do is make anyone feel lesser than who they are. I apologize to both the cast and Pharrell, but it was a mistake and I hope we can all move on.”
Today co-anchor Al Roker came to Hager’s defense. “All of us who know you, know your heart and know that was a mistake.”
But she wasn’t the only reason “Hidden Fences” was trending on Twitter last night: Michael Keaton made the same goof when announcing the nominees for supporting actress in a motion picture. The Oscar winner read Octavia Spencer’s name followed by the erroneous film title. Fittingly, Viola Davis won for Fences. Just Fences.
Here is a clip of her apology on Today: