On the same night that Donald Trump hosted a controversial episode of Saturday Night Live in New York City, one of Hollywood’s most prominent filmmakers spoke out against the Republican candidate’s aggressive immigration policies. At Saturday’s annual Los Angeles Country Museum of Art’s Art+Film Gala, Oscar-winning Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu — one of the evening’s nominees alongside artist James Turrell — reluctantly devoted a portion of his speech to addressing the “constant and relentless xenophobic comments” that politicians have been aiming at the auteur’s fellow Mexicans (via Variety).
Although Iñárritu didn’t cite any politicians by name, it was clear from the nature and timing of his speech that he was referring to Trump. After opening his remarks by reflecting on how cinema has bridged him with people from all over the world, Iñárritu pointedly lamented: “Unfortunately, there are currently people proposing we build walls, instead of bridges.” As Trump detailed in a recent 60 Minutes interview, the core of his immigration plan is to build a massive wall along the Mexico-American border, and expel 12 million illegal immigrants by “rounding ‘em up in a very humane way.”
“These comments would be unacceptable if they were targeted against any other minority,” Iñárritu continued. “The foundation of all this is so outrageous that it can easily be minimized as an SNL sketch, a mere entertainment, a joke.”
The director then broadened his comments to the rest of the world: “If we continue to allow these words to water seeds of hate, and spread inferior thoughts and unwholesome emotions around the world to every human being, not only will millions of Mexicans and Latin American immigrants be in danger, but immigrants around the world now suffering, will share the same dangerous fate. There is no human being who, as a result of desiring to build a better life, should be named or declared illegal, and be dispossessed or considered disposable.”
The full text of Iñárritu’s speech can be read at Medium. Iñárritu’s next film, The Revenant, stars Leonardo DiCaprio and opens in theaters on Christmas Day.