Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Wednesday that displeasure over the absence of any black Academy Award nominees this year presents “a tough situation” — one, he suggested, that is made worse by ongoing racial divisions in how media is consumed.
“I think it’s a tough situation. I saw somebody on your show today saying, 'Well, what do we do with BET? Black entertainment, right?' So, you know…over there the whites don’t get any nominations,” Trump said when asked about a possible boycott of the popular award show by several high-profile actors. “I'd never even thought of it from that standpoint.”
“But with all that being said, it would certainly be nice if everyone could be represented properly,” Trump said. “And hopefully that’s the case but perhaps it’s not the case. It’s a difficult situation."
Trump at times seemed to teeter through his comments, offering some concessions to those who tend to view all race-related controversies as overblown or widely misunderstood, and giving credence to claims that there is, indeed, something wrong with the all-white Oscar nominations list.
Trump's comments came after an earlier interview in which Stacey Dash — an actress of color who has appeared in a number of films and television shows marketed primarily to a black audience -- said that BET and related media organizations are harmful to African Americans. “We have to make up our minds. Either we want to have segregation or integration," Dash told Fox News. "And if we don't want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the Image Awards, where you're only awarded if you're black,” Dash continued. “If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It's a double standard.”
Dash has been vocal about her disappointment in President Obama, who she has accused of sewing divisions instead of uniting the country. She has frequently clashed with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Trump added that he believes it would be appropriate for comedian Chris Rock, who is hosting the award show this year, to make specific reference to the tension on stage.
"He's a great guy. I know him pretty well. He's a very good guy and a very funny guy. He'll probably make a big issue out of it and I think that's fine. Let it be known," Trump said. "I've watched over the years where African Americans have, in fact, received Academy Awards and have been very well represented. This is not one of those years."