Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay shaded first lady Melania Trump and actor Liam Neeson for their alleged white privilege in a Twitter spree on Tuesday, comparing their treatment in the media to those of public figures of color, including former first lady Michelle Obama and Will Smith.
Retweeting a photo of Trump modeling in a swimsuit for GQ Magazine in 2001, DuVernay wrote, “When people ask me what white privilege is … Imagine what would happen if this was Michelle.”
The “Wrinkle in Time” director followed with a retweet about action star Neeson’s recent racially charged admission that he “wanted to kill” a black man after a close friend was raped, comparing the treatment of the “Taken” actor to that of fellow A-lister Will Smith.
“When people ask me what white privilege is. Imagine if this was Will Smith,” she captioned the post.
Neeson, 66, hit the talk show circuit this week in an effort to soften his image following the incendiary remark about a 40-year-old incident, but the damage may have been done: The red carpet for his new film, “Cold Pursuit,” was canned Tuesday.
She followed with a post about Trayvon Martin, who was killed by George Zimmerman in 2012. Zimmerman was cleared of all charges in Martin’s death and later was sentenced to probation for stalking an investigator linked to a documentary on the Martin slaying.
“When people ask me what white privilege is…. Imagine if this was a white boy in a hoodie with a bag of skittles who was just trying to walk home.”
She concluded with, “Sometimes it’s hard for white folks to grasp the notion of white privilege. My three posts below are real world, easy examples of how the system we live in favors some and not others. If you’d like to acknowledge Black History Month in some way, recognize this within yourself.”
DuVernay, 46, has been a longtime advocate of social justice, boycotting the NFL and Super Bowl over the league’s alleged blackballing of Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against men of color.