Culture

After An Ignorant Remark About Hollywood’s Treatment Of Race, Chris Pratt Was Very Quick To Make A Heartfelt Apology

by Penn Collins

April 24, 2017

Following a recent interview, Hollywood megastar Chris Pratt exhibited both public relations savvy and genuine decency (yes, they can coexist), when he realized his words weren’t just insensitive—they were objectively untrue. 

Sitting with Men’s Fitness, Pratt discussed his interest, or lack thereof, in the films Hollywood churns out for audiences. His comments went from an innocuous statement about how he relates to contemporary fare to more sweeping comments about Hollywood overlooking “average” Americans. There was no explicit mention of race in his words, but many have been exposed to enough euphemisms to shudder when they hear someone—no less a movie star—say “average, blue-collar American.”

"I don't see personal stories that necessarily resonate with me, because they're not my stories," he said.

That statement took on a startlingly different tone as he elaborated, "I think there's room for me to tell mine, and probably an audience that would be hungry for them. The voice of the average, blue-collar American isn't necessarily represented in Hollywood."

He finalized his thoughts with a political message that suggested he wasn’t speaking about race, but about politics. "You're either the red state or the blue state, the left or the right. Not everything is politics. And maybe that's something I'd want to help bridge, because I don't feel represented by either side."

It’s easy to bristle at both the fact that he feels middle-class Americans are underrepresented in Hollywood (and the racial subtext one may draw from that), but also the fact that he considers himself to be a middle-class guy.

Everyone loves Chris Pratt, and he’s got a wholesome modesty that is endearing, but having him champion the depiction of “people like him” in Hollywood comes across as tone-deaf. 

And you know who agrees with that assessment? Chris Pratt. 

The actor was very quick to own his comments and make clear that what he said just isn’t true. He didn’t qualify his statement, work around the issue, or create some sort of straw man. All he did was send out a tweet in response to Marie Claire, which questioned his statement: 

The fact that he released this statement as soon as he realized his mistake (not when the public took him to task for it) suggests it was genuine, and not some crisis-management technique. In fact, this may not have even been a story prior to Chris Pratt bringing his dumb comment to light. 

May this serve not only as a way to diffuse the effects of misspoken words, but also as a way to do it with integrity. 

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After An Ignorant Remark About Hollywood’s Treatment Of Race, Chris Pratt Was Very Quick To Make A Heartfelt Apology