Flat White

Oh my God, I’ve offended the ancient Mayans!

13 July 2020

4:45 PM

13 July 2020

4:45 PM

Just when you think the world can’t get madder, it does. The SMAge (where else?) reports:

Actor and writer Michelle Law, who led the social media charge against Sydney Film Festival’s prize-winning short Mukbang, has apologised for a “racist” scene that “depicted dangerous stereotypes” in a film she wrote.

Law issued an “apology without reservation” for a scene in her 2013 short film Bloomers that showed a white girl and boy and an Asian girl putting ash on their faces while performing an “ancient Mayan ritual” to bring on menstruation.

“The truth is, the scene we made seven years ago is racist. Jokes my collaborators and I made online discussing the scene seven years ago are also racist. I’m deeply sorry,” Law posted on Twitter on Friday afternoon.

“Discussions and apologies regarding this scene have been made amongst POC filmmakers and industry figures over the years. I am happy to make those existing conversations public and transparent.”

In the film, rising star Odessa Young plays Stella, a young high school teen who is being bullied over her late sexual development. With her friends Gabby (Jenny Wong) and Martin (Luke Haberecht), she performs a ritual, allegedly from ancient Mayan culture, designed to bring on her first period.

They dance in the moonlight in front of a fire, chanting and throwing items – including Stella’s underwear – into the flames. And they paint their faces with charcoal, as Martin pauses briefly to ask “is this racist?” before proceeding.

The short film was directed by Corrie Chen, who has been one of Law’s most vocal supporters during the debate about Mukbang, its 21-year-old actor-turned-director Eliza Scanlen, and the festival itself.

Law said the film debuted at festivals in 2013, and “since then we removed it from distribution, feeling the scene depicted dangerous stereotypes”.

Ms Chen confirmed to this masthead that the video was removed from her personal website and her Vimeo channel “a few weeks ago in June”.

Ms Law posted on Twitter: “In depicting teens naively putting ash on their face – and asking themselves if it was appropriate – we created an inappropriate scene.

“I know some argue the scene doesn’t constitute blackface. For me it doesn’t matter: I think it does, and I am ashamed.”

One respected Indigenous filmmaker who had seen the film – which has also been viewed by this masthead – pointed to it as a marker of how easily scenes could be taken out of context…

Only by complete bloody lunatics, but we digress. Keep on reading, if just to see how the woke left are not only eating each other alive but biting chunks off themselves in their current madness:

Ms Law said she decided to post the apology – “owning [her] mistakes and errors completely” – after an anonymous Twitter user posted clips from the scene.

The apology appeared hours after this masthead had approached Ms Chen for comment on Bloomers. Ms Law has not responded to recent requests for comment from The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and has been vocal in her criticism of the mastheads for recently appointing five freelance cultural critics, all of whom were white (two of whom resigned in protest over the lack of cultural diversity among the five critics).

“If you’ve held me to account over this, I’m very grateful,” Ms Law tweeted. “I’m also sorry you had to invest energy and time to do so.

“It’s entirely fair those coming after me are using with the same rhetoric I’ve been using. This conversation is part of a bigger and vital dialogue now, one in which I’m committed to participating. I’ll continue asking all parties hold themselves to account. That includes me.”

In a statement, Ms Chen said the scene was “indefensible”.

“As many people have been doing in the last few weeks, I have been reflecting on my own blindspots with regards to behaviour in my work, actions that may seem harmless but are actually incredibly hurtful to certain people, or are perpetuating systemic racism,” Ms Chen wrote.

“Within that reflection, I have been educating myself on the history of blackface and how it has been used as an instrument of oppression, the systematic racism it represents and how it’s been normalised within my own framework as a non-European settler.

“For that reason, the call was made to take down Bloomers, which included a scene that is indefensible, that I am horrified by and I am sorry to have been involved in. We didn’t draw public attention to the removal because honestly, as it’s a short film that didn’t get much of a festival run and didn’t win any major awards, we didn’t think it was of public interest. We just did what we thought was right.

“I appreciate you for holding me accountable and we should all continue to do so to work towards a more just and equal society.”

And the full horror of this shameful scene (trigger warning for the sensitive — avert your gaze)? Well, here it is.

Perhaps this is all an almighty set up to allow the loopy left to slam Christians who receive the ashes next Ash Wednesday of racism.

Anything’s possible right now. Anything.

Illustrations: Wikimedia Commons/Nine Entertainment screencap.

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