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Viola Davis says director once called her by her maid’s name

Viola Davis has recalled a micro-aggression she suffered decades ago as she discussed the impact of race on her career in Hollywood.

Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival for a powerful Women In Motion conversation on Thursday, the Oscar-winning actor said an anonymous director once referred to her by the name of his maid. “And I had known him for about 10 years,” she said. “And he called me Louise, and I found out it was because his maid’s name was Louise.”

“I was maybe around 30 at the time, so that was a while ago. But what you have to realize is that these microaggressions happen all the time,” Davis explained. .

The actor also opened up about times when he was told she wasn’t “pretty enough” for certain roles. “It breaks my heart and it makes me angry,” she said. “For many reasons. A lot of it is based on race. It really is. Because let’s be honest; if I had the same features and was five shades lighter, it would just be a little bit different.

Davis most recently starred as Michelle Obama on “The First Lady,” which wraps its 10-episode season in June, and also recently released her memoir, “Finding Me.”

She will also star in “The Woman King,” a historical epic inspired by true events in the Kingdom of Dahomey, a former West African state in present-day Benin.



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