Thoughts: Ben Stiller, 55, launches into embarrassing Twitter debate over nepotism
Ben Stiller weighed in on an embarrassing Hollywood nepotism debate on social media on Thursday.
The 55-year-old star has responded to criticism of Steven Spielberg’s daughter Destry Spielberg’s new film The Rightway as the cast includes children of famous actors including Sean Penn and Robin Wright’s son Hopper Penn.
The short is also being written by Stephen King’s son, Owen King, and the news of the film prompted Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Franklin Leonard to tweet, “Hollywood is a meritocracy, right?”
Stiller called the critical offer “too easy”: “People, who work, create. Everyone has their own way. I wish them all the best.
He added, “I’m just speaking from experience, and I don’t know of any, I would bet they’ve all faced challenges. Different from those who don’t have access to the industry. Showbiz, as we all know, is pretty rough and ultimately is a meritocracy.
However, many Twitter users have called the Long Came Polly star a “hypocrite” as he is the son of legendary comedians Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, prompting a flood of hilarious reactions.
The start of the tweet started it all: Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Franklin Leonard responded to this casting news by saying “Hollywood is a meritocracy, isn’t it?”
Argument: Ben Stiller was responding to an original thread by The Black List founder Franklin Leonard, which started a debate about nepotism in Hollywood
Start something: Leonard hit back at Stiller as the pair came back fourth on Thursday
Passionate: Stiller – who is the son of legendary comedians Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara – had a lot to say on the subject
Leonard shot back, “I have no doubt for a second that they have all faced challenges. They are human. I simply reject the claim that the industry is – short or long term – a meritocracy. If so. it was, how do you explain the complete lack of diversity behind the camera? lack of merit?
Stiller then replied, “100% agree. Diversity is a much bigger issue. No question. And I see your point, access is access. Then yes. I’m saying people with no talent don’t really last if they get a break because of who they are or know or relate to.
However, Leonard said he “fundamentally” disagreed with Stiller here, writing: “The numbers don’t lie. Based on the exclusion of other people alone, statistically speaking, about 1/3 of the l The industry has its work not because of merit, but because of other factors (who they know, colonial heritage, sexism, whatever).
Lineage: Stiller is the son of the late legendary comedians Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara (pictured together in 1998)
Continuing, “And we both know a lot of unskilled people who manage to stay employed for reasons other than talent, although we both have enough decency not to name names.”
“It’s not just access. It is an understatement. It is active discrimination. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Hollywood film C-suite is the least diversified sector of American companies. Less diverse than Trump’s cabinet, ”added Leonard.
Seeming to get annoyed, Stiller then said, “I owe a huge debt to my parents and by no means said no. Why make big generalizations? Your argument on diversity is very strong and I am daring. ‘okay with her.’
Ending With Memes: Stiller apparently ended the debate with a meme from The Office’s Michael Scott saying “I’m Dead Inside”
The debate then resulted in users flooding the thread with memes, with Stiller himself eventually posting one of The Office’s Michael Scott saying “I’m dead inside.”
Twitter user Ann Molloy tweeted: “He conveniently forgot about his own famous parents, which obviously helped him build a career. Unbelievable hypocrite.”
Meanwhile, Spielberg’s daughter Destry responded to the tweet herself, writing, “I’m just an aspiring young filmmaker who admires the art of filmmaking.”
Celebrity Appearances: Ben Stiller with his parents Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on Jimmy Fallon in 2010
Addition: “People can argue nepotism, but I know deep down that I worked hard to get to where I am and it was not easy. More than proud of this film and proud of the team that it took to achieve it. ‘
Ben’s father, Jerry Stiller – who died last May at the age of 92 – was a famous actor, comedian and author, best known in his later years for playing George Costanza’s father, Frank, on the sitcom Seinfeld.
Meanwhile, her mother Anne Meara – who died aged 85 in 2015 – was a Tony and Emmy nominated star who played the role of Mary Brady in Sex and the City.