Sterling K. Brown on Emmys Speech Cut Short: Not Everyone Can Be an Australian White Woman

Sterling K. Brown isn’t holding a grudge over getting played off the stage in the middle of his Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Emmys acceptance speech due to time constraints.

Sterling K. Brown
Sterling K. Brown on ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

“I got to finish backstage,” Brown, 41, who was the first black actor to win the award in 19 years at the Sunday, September 17, ceremony, told Stephen Colbert on The Late Show’s Monday, September 25 episode.

Colbert told the actor that he regretted that he couldn’t help the situation. “I wanted you to know that I’m backstage watching and I’m like, ‘Well, they’re not going to play him off, they’re gonna let him finish this speech,’” Colbert said. “Then I went, ‘Wait, wait, I’m the host I can stop this!’”

Sterling K. Brown
Sterling K. Brown accepts Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for "This Is Us" onstage during the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

He added: “I’m sorry for not getting out there fast enough.”

Although Brown seems at peace with getting to finish his speech backstage, as well as having it printed in full in The Hollywood Reporter, he did reference Nicole Kidman’s similarly lengthy acceptance speech for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie that she was able to finish in full. “Listen man, not everybody can be pretty Australian white women who have won Oscars in the past,” Brown said to Colbert. “Not that I’m blaming her, it’s not her fault.”

Still, Brown says the experience ended up working out in his favor. “I got a chance to make the speech even longer because I got to finish it backstage,” he said. “It was perfect.”

As previously reported, after Brown’s mic and lighting were cut off in the middle of his speech at the 69th annual ceremony, onlookers told Us Weekly that Chrissy Metz, who plays his onscreen sister on NBC’s This Is Us, booed from her seat as the actor got a standing ovation and slapped the mic with his hand. Milo Ventimiglia told Us at the Fox afterparty that night, “I think it’s unfortunate. I haven’t had a chance to ask him what the remaining was, but I read his mouth pretty well. I think he was talking about his loved ones. I’m so proud and excited for him to be on that stage.”

This Is Us returns to NBC on Tuesday, September 26.

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