Tim Burton Says Something Monumentally Stupid About Miss Peregrine's Lack of Diversity

Photo: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP.
Photo: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP.

Are Burton’s comments really that dumb? The short answer: yes. The long answer? Well, see for yourself.


From an interview with Bustle:

“Nowadays, people are talking about it more,” he says regarding film diversity. But “things either call for things, or they don’t. I remember back when I was a child watching The Brady Bunch and they started to get all politically correct. Like, OK, let’s have an Asian child and a black. I used to get more offended by that than just... I grew up watching blaxploitation movies, right? And I said, that’s great. I didn’t go like, OK, there should be more white people in these movies.”


Sigh. Look, nothing in Miss Peregrine’s—or most of Burton’s other movies—demands the characters all be white. But that was kind of the whole deal for blaxploitation movies of the ‘70s—the ‘70s! 40 years ago!—which existed because of a lack of representation elsewhere. It’s not the same. It’s not close to the same.

Although to be fair “I didn’t demand more representation of white people in blaxploitation movies” is one of the more... unexpected defenses of racism in Hollywood. That weird Tim Burton, always thinking outside the box!

Rob Bricken was the Editor of io9 from 2016-18, the creator of the poorly named but fan-favorite news site Topless Robot, and now writes nerd stuff for many places, because it's all he's good at.

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I’m still tickled that going on 60 years later, an offshoot genre from one of the most racist periods in American history is still the go-to standard for white people of every age as the gold standard for everything Black culture. As if Shaft was the pinnacle of African American achievement. It is our one sacred cow, which is treasured throughout the diaspora as the perfect distillation of our monolithic pattern of all of our behavior, language, fashion, and artistic taste. Like there aren’t millions of black people who are just as offended by the ridiculous caricatures inherent to Blaxploitation as they are by the lack of black characters elsewhere in art and culture - and in fact, point to the dearth of non-Blaxploitation-esque character types as one of the biggest gripes with our representation.

But hey, at least the music was THEE BEST, right guys?

(Ironically, yes, I am listening to my Blaxploitation Pandora station, which consists of such hits as “Shaft Theme”, “Freddie’s Dead”, and “Superfly”. I’m gonna be pretty mad if “Across 110th Street doesn’t come on by the time I clock out and go home to await the debut of Luke Cage.

Update: “Pusherman” hit just as I clicked Publish, so that’s another point in favor of this playlist. Seriously just search “Freddie’s Dead” and vibe out for a couple hours)