A glance through Tim Burton’s looking glass often shows worlds populated mostly with white characters.
The director, known for his offbeat, gothic aesthetic, was slammed on social media Thursday, September 29, after he explained why his latest flick, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, featured a predominantly white cast.
“Nowadays, people are talking about it more,” Burton, 58, told Bustle of diversity in films. “Things either call for things, or they don’t. I remember back when I was a child watching The Brady Bunch and they started to get all politically correct. Like, OK, let’s have an Asian child and a black. I used to get more offended by that than just … I grew up watching blaxploitation movies, right? And I said, that’s great. I didn’t go like, OK, there should be more white people in these movies.”
Samuel L. Jackson — the only nonwhite actor in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which also stars Allison Janney and Judi Dench — came to Burton’s defense.
“I had to go back in my head and go, how many black characters have been in Tim Burton movies?” Jackson said. “And I may have been the first, I don’t know, or the most prominent in that particular way, but it happens the way it happens. I don’t think it’s any fault of his or his method of storytelling, it’s just how it’s played out. Tim’s a really great guy.”
Still, it was too little, too late. Twitter users attacked Burton — known for beloved films including Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and Alice Through The Looking Glass — and his views on diversity.
“He’s just one of the many directors who think that for a world to be magical and fantastical it must be white,” one user wrote of Burton, whose name began trending on the social media site.
Quipped another, “Its fascinating that Tim Burton has a huge imagination in the rendering of his films, but a Asian kid in Miss Peregrine is a stretch for him.”
Read on for more reactions:
When you find out why Tim Burton is trending…… pic.twitter.com/RFGuDJatVF
— Heather Matarazzo (@HeatherMatarazz) September 30, 2016
Wait, you’re saying Tim Burton, who casts the same 2 actors in every movie, doesn’t think diversity is necessary?
— (((OhNoSheTwitnt))) (@OhNoSheTwitnt) September 29, 2016
— Cheryl Z (@FeralCherylZ) September 29, 2016
Tim Burton isn’t special. He’s just one of the many directors who think that for a world to be magical and fantastical it must be white.
— Bitch God (@sakilegrannum) September 30, 2016
Its fascinating that Tim Burton has a huge imagination in the rendering of his films, but a Asian kid in Miss Peregrine is a stretch for him
— Just call me Shelly (@ellisromance) September 29, 2016
According to #TimBurton, an emphasis on diversity in film is the real oppression. What a privileged tool.
— Jason Chesnut (@crazypastor) September 29, 2016
To be fair, Tim Burton usually only casts the same three people over and over again, so he’s not even diverse in the white people he hires.
— Valentina Cano (@valca85) September 29, 2016
Tim Burton saying his movies don’t call for black characters is his racist cop out because he makes FANTASY movies about monsters.
— PantheR (@____PantheR) September 29, 2016
My favorite thing about that horrible Tim Burton interview is when he said he’d be racist if he DIDNT have an all white cast
— Pumpkaboo (@vincentvanngoth) September 30, 2016