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‘I May Destroy You’ Golden Globes Shutout Ignites Hollywood Outrage: ‘Racism Is the Only Explanation’

A writer on the Golden Globe-nominated "Emily in Paris" wrote an op-ed condemning the Globes for shutting out "Destroy You."

"I May Destroy You"

“I May Destroy You”


The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s decision to shut out Michaela Coel’s acclaimed “I May Destroy You” from the 2021 Golden Globe nominations has stirred outrage in Hollywood, more so than any other nominations snub in recent memory. Deborah Copaken, a writer on the Golden Globe-nominated comedy series “Emily in Paris,” published an op-ep in The Guardian railing against the HFPA for omitting “I May Destroy You” in the limited series categories. Copaken wrote she was “stunned” how “Destroy You” was shut out when “Emily in Paris,” which was mostly mocked and lambasted by television critics, made the cut.

“I tried to avoid reading its criticism, but I don’t live under a rock. It never occurred to me that our show would be nominated,” Copaken writes, acknowledging that a show about “a white American selling luxury whiteness, in a pre-pandemic Paris scrubbed free of its vibrant African and Muslim communities” was bound to rankle.

Writing about “I May Destroy You,” Copaken added, “‘I May Destroy You’ was not only my favorite show of 2020. It’s my favorite show ever. It takes the complicated issue of a rape — I’m a sexual assault survivor myself — and infuses it with heart, humor, pathos and a story constructed so well, I had to watch it twice, just to understand how Coel did it.”

“Am I excited that Emily in Paris was nominated? Yes. Of course,” Copaken continued. “I’ve never been remotely close to seeing a Golden Globe statue up close, let alone being nominated for one. But that excitement is now unfortunately tempered by my rage over Coel’s snub. That ‘I May Destroy You’ did not get one Golden Globe nod is not only wrong, it’s what is wrong with everything.”

Copaken summed up her argument by writing, “We need art that reflects all of our colors, not just some. But we also need to give awards to shows (and music and films and plays and musicals) that deserve them, no matter the color of the skin of their creators.”

Other Hollywood voices were even more damning of the HPFA, with “Birds of Prey” director Cathy Yan writing it’s “bullshit” that “Destroy You” got zero nominations. “Honey Boy” filmmaker Alma Har’el added, “Sometimes racism is the only explanation.”

Golden Globes are laughable,” actor Dylan O’Brien tweeted. “Not only is ‘I May Destroy You absolutely fucking brilliant, it should be required viewing. Apparently you can be too far ahead of humanity. Michaela Coel, we don’t deserve you.”

“Stories We Tell” director Sarah Polley said “it was telling” the HFPA embraced one kind of sexual assault (“Promising Young Woman”) while leaving another (“I May Destroy You”) shut out. Polley wrote, “It’s a clear statement about which stories we are ready to hear and which ones we continue to ignore.”

Mark Duplass tried to see the glass half full by encouraging people to seek out “I May Destroy You” on HBO Max, writing, “The good thing about Awards season is that it can bring just as much attention to the films and tv shows that are highlighted as to those that go criminally unrecognized.”

For more on the “I May Destroy You” shut out, read IndieWire television critic Ben Travers on the Globes’ most upsetting television snubs. The Globes’ 2021 ceremony airs Sunday, February 28 at 8pm ET on NBC.

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