Republicans presidential front-runner Donald Trump was asked Wednesday to weigh in on the Rev. Al Sharpton’s call for a boycott of this year’s Oscars.
Sharpton is one of a number of critics who have blasted the Academy Awards because, for the second year in a row, they feature all-white acting nominees.
“Well, I think it’s a tough situation. I think it’s really sad. And Al is just a guy who wants to get publicity for himself. And I understand him very well,” Trump said when asked about the issue on “Fox & Friends.”
He then apparently referenced Stacey Dash’s “Fox & Friends” interview earlier in the morning, in which the actress criticised the Black Entertainment Television channel for only giving awards to black recipients. (“Just like there shouldn’t be a Black History Month,” Dash explained. “You know? We’re Americans. Period. That’s it.)
“I saw somebody on your show today say, ‘What do we do with BET, Black Entertainment [Television], right?'” Trump recalled. “The whites don’t get any nominations. And I thought it was an amazing interview, actually. I’ve never even thought of it from that standpoint.”
He continued: “But with all of that being said, it would certainly be nice if everybody could be represented properly. And hopefully that’s the case, but perhaps it’s not the case. It’s a difficult situation.”
Trump was asked how comedian Chris Rock, who’s hosting the Oscars this year, should react to the backlash over the nominees’ lack of diversity.
“I think he’ll probably say something and joke about it a little bit, and do it the way he does,” he replied. “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.”
He also pointed out that African-American actors have been nominated for Oscar awards in the past.
“This is not one of those years, but over the years I’ve seen numerous black actors and African-American actors receive Academy Awards. And I think that’s great,” Trump said.
He added: “It’s a difficult situation. And when Al Sharpton’s jumping up and down, people say, ‘Well, give me a break.'”
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