Campion was under fire on social media after winning for best director for The Power of the Dog as the only woman in the category. She was accused of minimizing Black women’s accomplishments in her speech.
Campion’s s speech began as a tribute to “incredible women” in attendance.
“Venus and Serena, what an honor to be in the room with you,” Campion said. “I’ve taken up tennis. I truly have, and Will Smith if you want to come over we can do lessons. I would truly love it. I actually had to stop playing because I’ve got tennis elbow.”
Then Campion alluded to her struggle as a woman in the film industry being greater than the challenges that the Williams sisters have endured in tennis as Black women.
"Venus and Serena, you're such marvels,” she said. “However, you don't play against the guys, like I have to."
In their professional careers, both Venus and Serena have played against men.
Responding to the harsh criticism she received since her speech went viral, Campion issued an apology through her representative attempting to right her wrongs.
"I made a thoughtless comment equating what I do in the film world with all that Serena Williams and Venus Williams have achieved. I did not intend to devalue these two legendary Black women and world-class athletes," Campion said on Monday in a statement via her representative. "The fact is the Williams sisters have, actually, squared off against men on the court (and off), and they have both raised the bar and opened doors for what is possible for women in this world. The last thing I would ever want to do is minimize remarkable women."
"Their accomplishments are titanic and inspiring. Serena and Venus, I apologize and completely celebrate you," the statement continued.
Venus and Serena have not yet responded to Campion.