The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Here’s what you need to know about director Tim Burton’s race controversy


Photo Illustration courtesy of Junior Linnaea Marks 

 Director Tim Burton, the beloved gothic icon and movie director trending on Tik Tok, is now under heat for comments he made after being questioned as to why his movies show an overwhelmingly white cast.

For many students at San Luis Obispo High School, it’s difficult to take a stance on the issue as huge fans of his films and creations. 

  Claiming that “things either call for things, or they don’t,” the director sparked arguments regarding his preference for white people and the idea that people of color don’t adhere to his aesthetic. Expressions reached out to several students on their opinions regarding the controversy.

  “By not being inclusive and employing African Americans, he is contributing to systematic racism,” said freshman XC Clements, who enjoys the occasional Burton film. “While I do think we should still enjoy his movies, we should take them with a grain of salt, and try not to support him.”

  For senior and longtime Tim Burton fan Rachel Loberstein, the recent controversy affects overall support for the director.

“I would say it really influences my support of his films, as well as my respect for him as a director,” said Loberstein. “He should make inclusivity a top priority.”

  For unbiased sophomore Lindsay Smith, who has only ever seen “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” Tim Burton “is basically saying that his work, his films, do not have a place for people of color, which I think is wrong. We are in an era of change and opportunity, a time where we are finally on the path to achieving equality for everyone. For Tim Burton to say that there is not a place in his films for people of color is setting this movement back.” On whether or not his films should continue to be celebrated, Smith added, “I believe that if we are able to watch his films with the knowledge that he has done this then we should be ok. He has done great things and the film industry would not be the same without him and his work, but if he refuses to change then people might need to reconsider who they look up to.”

 In a Washington Post article, Samuel L. Jackson, the first black person featured in one of Burton’s movies, shared a different opinion. “I don’t think it’s any fault of his or his method of storytelling, it’s just how it’s played out. Tim’s a really great guy,” said Jackson.

  However, most people believe that Burton’s comments were uncalled for and made the situation far worse than the initial question regarding a lack of people of color in his movies.

  It would be perfectly acceptable for Burton to have admitted to his mistakes, or even explained that nearly all his movies take place in nineteenth century Britain, where there were few people of color. Instead, the artist made excuses and defended his lack of diversity by saying it isn’t needed in film today.

  There is no question that Tim Burton is one of the most iconic and brilliant artists of all time, but next time you watch one of his movies, keep in mind his background of racial bias and discrimination.

Sources: Washington Post

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  • D

    DarlingApr 16, 2021 at 9:05 am

    yikes… I hope he comes to realize how harmful that statement was

  • J

    jenniferNov 7, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    What a stupid article. If Tim Burton doesn’t want Black people in his films, so what? I am disgusted with P.C. articles and the sheep who follow them. Film making is an art; art is not a quota system.