*Michael Keaton addressed his contribution to #HiddenFences gate from Sunday’s Golden Globes, when he became the second person after Jenna Bush Hager to mistakenly combine African American-themed films “Hidden Figures” and “Fences” on national television.
During Wednesday night’s Los Angeles premiere of his new film “The Founder,” Keaton spoke with Variety about the flub, and the explosion of memes that highlighted what some perceive as subtle racism.
“I have a very limited social media presence,” the actor confessed to Variety. After explaining that he was oblivious to the existence of memes, he offered a sincere apology saying, “I’m very, very sorry about that.”
“I get that people thought I was nonchalant about it,” he said of the reaction on social media. “At the time I totally didn’t understand what people were talking about, but since then somebody said, ‘Well they’re upset for this other reason’ – and that made me feel horrible.”
Taking the backlash into consideration, he further clarified that misreading the monitor did not come from a place of ill will. “They’re incorrect in their assumption, but it doesn’t matter that they’re wrong. If someone feels badly that’s all that matters.”
Beyond the audience members, Keaton felt the family members of “Hidden Figures” stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae were also deserving of an apology. “Those people in the movie who worked all that time in front of millions of people, I, like a jerk, screwed the line up. What I always think about is they have mothers and sisters and brothers and fathers that are sitting at home waiting for them and watching them and this guy, me, gets up and gives the wrong title. That makes me feel terrible. You feel badly about those things.”
“The Founder” is set for a wide release Jan. 20.