Jenna Bush gives a heartfelt apology for her "Hidden Fences" blunder last night at the Golden Globes.
Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former President George W. Bush, now has a gig as an NBC correspondent, and she got to interview the stars last night on the red carpet pre-show before the Golden Globes. While interviewing Pharrell, she made a blunder that has caused her to be mocked and, in some cases, deemed guilty of subconscious racism on social media.
Pharrell was nominated for Best Musical Score for the soundtrack he produced for Hidden Figures, though in asking him about the movie, Hager inadvertently referred to it as "Hidden Fences," clearly conflating the title with that of the Denzel Washington-starring Fences. Some people on social media believed that she confused the two titles because both Hidden Figures and Fences are films with predominantly black casts. The most damning sort of accusations suggested that Hager's mistake was evidence that she sees these films as, above all, "black movies," not respecting each one on its own merit.
All black movies look alike. #HiddenFences— sailor sprout 🌸 (@hellobellum) January 9, 2017
The #HiddenFences incident is more than an innocent mistake. It's a lack of research or care for black cinema.— Mariah Hickman (@_MariahHickman) January 9, 2017
That someone else said "Hidden Fences" is absolutely outrageous. It is soft bigotry and subconscious racism. A micro-aggression.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) January 9, 2017
Appearing on TODAY this morning, Hager addressed her slipup and delivered an emotional apology. "I accidentally, in the electricity of the red carpet, which I had never done one before, called Hidden Figures ‘Hidden Fences,’” she said. “And if I offended people, I am deeply sorry. It was a mistake, because y’all know I am not perfect. I am authentic, but a human."
She also pointed out that she has seen both Hidden Figures and Fences and that she thinks both films are "brilliant."
Pharrell has taken to Twitter to accept Hager's apology, joking that "Hidden Fences" does actually "sound like an intriguing movie." Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe, both whom star in Hidden Figures, have also thanked Hager for her apology.
Don't worry @JennaBushHager!Everyone makes mistakes. Hidden Fences does sound like an intriguing movie though. Just saying... 😂😘❤— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) January 9, 2017
Thank you Jenna. 🙏🏿 https://t.co/YFoWWK6etk— Janelle Monáe, Cindi (@JanelleMonae) January 9, 2017
On a lighter note, Hager did set off a hilarious trail of memes, as Twitter users followed her lead in combining certain film titles.
And it turns out that she wasn't alone in her problematic gaffe. Actor Michael Keaton did the same damn thing when presenting the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture. Perhaps there's a debate to be had on why he's not catching as much flack as W's daughter.