Jane the Virgin actor Gina Rodriguez has given an emotional interview addressing accusations made against her of being “anti-black”, a claim she emphatically denies.
Rodriguez sparked controversy in November 2018 after taking part in a Net-A-Porter roundtable discussion with fellow actors Gabrielle Union, Emma Roberts and Ellen Pompeo.
When the subject of pay disparity in Hollywood arose, Rodriguez made a point of highlighting the “intersectional aspect” of the topic.
“Where white women get paid more than black women, black women get paid more than Asian women, Asian women get paid more than Latina women, and it’s like a very scary space to step into,” she said.
The actor’s comments were condemned by some who pointed out that several Latina actors, such as Modern Family‘s Sofia Vergara, earn substantial amounts of money in comparison to black actors.
Rodriguez has now addressed the criticism she received, stating that she found the backlash “devastating to say the least”.
She explained that as a young child, she felt “seen” by black actors on screen as there weren’t many Latino shows on air.
“The black community was the only community I looked towards growing up,” the actor said on Sirius XM’s ‘Sway In The Morning‘ radio show.
“So to get ‘anti-black’ is saying that I’m anti-family.”
Rodriguez continued, apologising to those she offended while also stating that she believes her words were taken out of context.
“That was really devastating to me, and I know my heart. I know what I meant and I really wish we weren’t living in a culture where we’re clickbait, because I’ve never said anything controversial about anybody,” she said.
The actor went on to say that people from white and Asian communities weren’t offended by her comments, a statement that’s become a source of contention on Twitter.
“We’re offended. Um don’t use us as a way to come for other women of colour’s earnings that they fought so hard for!” one person tweeted.
“You can fight for better pay for Latinas without disaparaging other WOC... this is shady.”
“God I wish she would just say sorry I’ll do better and be receptive to criticism. She can do so so so so so much better,” another person remarked.
During the Net-A-Porter roundtable discussion that Rodriguez took part in, Grey’s Anatomy star Pompeo urged white people to take action against lack of diversity and representation in front of and behind the camera.
“When I show up on set I would like to see the crew look like the world that I walk around in every day,” the actor said.
“And I think it’s up to all productions to make sure that your crew looks like the world we see.”