- The Washington Times - Friday, January 13, 2017

Michael Keaton says he felt “horrible” after his infamous “Hidden Fences” gaffe at the 2017 Golden Globe awards, admitting that he didn’t understand at first why people were mad at him.

Mr. Keaton made headlines and even sparked the viral hashtag #HiddenFences after he confused the titles of two nominated films featuring black casts during Sunday night’s awards ceremony.

The actor was announcing the nominees for best supporting actress when he flubbed the title “Hidden Figures,” a biographical film about three black women who helped NASA catch up in the space race. He conflated the title with “Fences,” another nominated film based on the August Wilson play, starring Denzel Washington. The gaffe caused the Twitterverse to explode with accusations of racism and white privilege in Hollywood.

Mr. Keaton brushed off the controversy immediately following the awards, but later admitted he didn’t fully grasp what the problem was.

He addressed the issue before Wednesday night’s premiere of “The Founder” at the ArcLight Hollywood in Los Angeles.

“I’m very, very sorry about that,” he told Variety. “I get that people thought I was nonchalant about it. At the time I totally didn’t understand what people were talking about, but since then somebody said, ‘Well they’re upset for this other reason’ — and that made me feel horrible.”

“I have a very limited social media presence,” he added.

Mr. Keaton said he owed an apology to the actresses whose film titles he flubbed.

“Those people in the movie who worked all that time in front of millions of people, I, like a jerk, screwed the line up,” he said. “What I always think about is they have mothers and sisters and brothers and fathers that are sitting at home waiting for them and watching them and this guy, me, gets up and gives the wrong title. That makes me feel terrible. You feel badly about those things.”

Mr. Keaton wasn’t the only one to make the same mistake. NBC News corespondent Jenna Bush Hager gave a teary-eyed apology on the “Today” show Monday morning after she said “Hidden Fences” during an interview with singer and producer Pharrell Williams, who was nominated for best original score in “Hidden Figures.”

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