Jenna Bush Hager delivered an emotional apology on “Today” Monday for mistakenly referring to “Fences” in a Golden Globes red carpet interview with nominee Pharrell Williams.” as “Hidden
The NBC News correspondent combined “Fences,” which is directed by Denzel Washington and stars Viola Davis, with “Hidden Figures,” which stars Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, and Janelle Monae.
“you’re nominated for Hidden Fences” pic.twitter.com/7My6dtEkbG
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) January 9, 2017
“It was a mistake, because ya’ll know I’m not perfect,” said a shaky-voiced Bush Hager, as her “Today Show” co-anchor Al Roker reached over and took her hand in support. “I am authentic, but a human. And what I didn’t want to do is make anyone lesser than who they are. I apologize to both the cast, to Pharrell, but it was a mistake and I hope we can move on.”
Both Roker and Natalie Morales jumped to Bush-Hager’s defense on the NBC Morning show, commiserating over the “mosh-pit” like atmosphere of a major Hollywood red carpet and the pressure of live television.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 9, 2017
“Look – I forgot ‘Braveheart’ when I was interviewing Mel Gibson,” said Roker. “Honest mistakes happen in live television and this culture of Twitter and waiting to pounce and get on people, it’s got to stop.”
Michael Keaton made the same mistake when presenting the nominees for best supporting actress, causing #HiddenFences to trend on Twitter. “The #HiddenFences incident is more than an innocent mistake,” wrote one user. “It’s a lack of research or care for black cinema.”
The #HiddenFences incident is more than an innocent mistake. It’s a lack of research or care for black cinema.
— Mariah Hickman (@_MariahHickman) January 9, 2017
The comedian Baratunde Thurston (“The Daily Show”) added some levity to the controversy:
“Hidden Fences” – brilliant black women use math to launch Denzel Washington into space where he plays professional baseball with his son
— Baratunde (@baratunde) January 9, 2017