Ben Stiller and Destry Spielberg Deny Hollywood Nepotism in Twitter Debate With Franklin Leonard

Jul 29, 2021 20:32

In fairness, this is apparently a short film.

A short film whose casting apparently merited trade coverage.
- Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) July 28, 2021

Actor Ben Stiller and Destry Spielberg, filmmaker and daughter of Steven Spielberg, took to Twitter to downplay the impact of Hollywood nepotism in a debate with The Black List founder Franklin Leonard.

On Tuesday, Leonard responded to a tweet announcing the cast of the short film “The Rightway.” It is directed by Steven Spielberg’s daughter, Destry, and written by Stephen King’s son, Owen. The short film is also set to star Sean Penn’s son, Hopper Penn.

“Hollywood’s a meritocracy, right?” Leonard said, pointing out that three of the people involved are the children of nepotism.

[Lots of tweets]
Too easy @franklinleonard. People, working, creating. Everyone has their path. Wish them all the best.
- Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) July 28, 2021

Yes. Just speaking from experience, and I don’t know any of them, I would bet they all have faced challenges. Different than those with no access to the industry. Show biz as we all know is pretty rough, and ultimately is a meritocracy.
- Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) July 28, 2021

100 percent agree. Diversity is much bigger issue. No question. And I see your point, access is access. So yes. I’m saying that untalented people don’t really last if they get a break because of who they are or know or are related to.
- Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) July 28, 2021

Fundamentally disagree, and again numbers don't lie.

Based only on the exclusion of other folks, statistically speaking, roughly 1/3 of the industry has their job not because of merit, but because of other factors (who they know, colonial legacy, sexism, whatever).
- Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) July 28, 2021

It's not just access. It's undervaluation. It's active discrimination. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

The Hollywood film C-suite is the least diverse sector in American business. Less diverse than Trump's cabinet.
- Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) July 28, 2021
- Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) July 28, 2021

In another thread:

Wow. Really? I totally owe a huge debt to my folks and in no way have said I didn’t. Why make broad generalizations? You argument about diversity is very sound and I agreed with it.
- Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) July 29, 2021

Your perspective illuminated a POV For me. We might not totally agree on the generalization that most Hollywood folks believe one thing or another. But that’s less important than what you are saying about the overall very tilted and uneven landscape of the business.
- Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) July 29, 2021

Destry responded to both Stiller and Leonard, writing in a now-deleted tweet, “I am just a young aspiring female filmmaker who admires the art of cinema. People can argue nepotism, but I know deep down that I worked hard to get where I am and it wasn’t easy. Beyond proud of this film and proud of the team it took to make it.”

She then clarified her tweet by saying:

I acknowledge that i was born with privilege! I own that through and through! I make it my mission to bring new talent into the industry & give opportunities to artists of all backgrounds. No one should be left out because of the connections they dont have.
- Destry Spielberg (@destryallyn) July 29, 2021

After the debate was featured in a segment on “The View,” Leonard wrote, “The other remarkable bit of this is that the conversation has been hijacked into a referendum on nepotism and the talents of its beneficiaries instead of one about the systems that prevent other talented people from having the opportunities their talent merits. Quite unfortunate.”

I say again:

If you believe it's a meritocracy, explain Hollywood's utter lack of diversity behind the camera.
- Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) July 29, 2021

Sources: 1 | 2 | 3

celebrity social media, nepotism, film director, actor / actress