Alejandro González Iñárritu Speaks Out Against ‘Xenophobic’ Anti-Latino Rhetoric
Last night, Alejandro González Iñárritu attended a gala thrown by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as the guest of honor alongside artist James Turrell. As part of his guest of honor duties, the director of such films as Biutiful, Birdman and the upcoming The Revenant took the podium to deliver a speech expressing his commitment to artistry and a few other topics pressing on his mind, one of which has made headlines for touching on some hot-button issues. Iñárritu, a Mexican-born filmmaker, took time in his speech to denounce the “constant and relentless xenophobic comments” that have been made against Latinos and Latinas in recent months.
Iñárritu spoke out against the mounting anti-immigration sentiments that have swept up conservative factions of the American discourse in these early stages of the Presidential election, even going so far as to make what may be a thinly veiled acknowledgement of Presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s unabashed immigrant-bashing. Iñárritu’s quote is as follows:
These sentiments have been widely spread by the media without shame, embraced and cheered by leaders and communities around the US. The foundation of all this is so outrageous that it can easily be minimized as an SNL sketch, a mere entertainment, a joke. But the words that have been expressed are not a joke. Words have real power; and similar words in the past have both created and triggered enormous suffering for millions of humans beings, especially throughout the last century.
The specific name-drop of Saturday Night Live caught the most attention, implying Iñárritu’s disappointment in the historically liberal sketch-comedy program’s decision to invite Trump to host November 7’s episode, despite his reprehensible remarks about south-of-the-border immigrants. Iñarritu continued, expressing his disapproval in the term “illegal immigrant,” preferring instead to use a phrase of his own devising, “undocumented dreamers.” Much like the man’s films, it may have been heavy-handed, but the impact was forceful enough to win most of the audience over regardless. The Latino community have been historically underrepresented in the director’s chair, doubly so for an artist of Iñárritu’s stature, and so it’s rather heartening to hear him challenge the troubling atmosphere of racism that’s taken root in America. On the other hand, Iñárritu will be none too pleased to learn that Trump’s appearance on SNL brought the show its highest ratings in years. There’s clearly an audience for hate, but Iñárritu is holding out hope that there’s also an audience for, in his words, “the most precious, forgotten, and distinguished emotion a human being can have: compassion.”