*A member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has responded to the backlash over mistaking British actor Daniel Kaluuya for Lesle Odom Jr.
After his Best Supporting Oscar win on Sunday for his performance in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Kaluuya hit up the press room to dish with reporters and that’s when South African journalist Margaret Gardiner asked him what it was like working with director Regina King on “One Night in Miami.” King directed the Netflix film starring Odom Jr. as Sam Cooke, while Kaluuya played Fred Hampton, the Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, in “Judas and the Black Messiah” directed by Shaka King. Both Daniel and Leslie were nominated for roles at this year’s Academy Awards.
“I’ve been following you since the beginning of your career, and I was wondering what it meant for you to be directed by Regina, what this means for you at this time with the world and the state that it’s in?” Gardiner asked Kaluuya on Sunday.
Daniel Kaluuya responds to a journalist who mistook him for Leslie Odom Jr. at the #Oscars and asked him: “What was it like being directed by Regina [King]?”
— Film Updates (@TheFilmUpdates) April 26, 2021
After the actor asked for clarification, Gardiner rephrased her question without mentioning Regina King saying, “I was wondering what it meant for you to win with the world and the state that it’s in in the moment?”
Following the blunder, Twitter users lit up Gardiner’s comments for confusing either Kaluuya with Odom Jr. — or Shaka King and Regina King. The reporter defended herself against the backlash.
“#DanielKaluuya I did not mistake you for Leslie Odom Jnr.,” Gardiner tweeted Monday. “I’m sorry if it seemed that way. I had wanted to ask about Regina King not being nominated as a director for One Night in Miami, and your win for Judas and the Black Messiah for the community at this time.”
She added, “There was a sound issue so I dropped the part about Regina King and restated my question. What does it mean for the community at this time. When I listen to the audio, I do understand, but there was no confusion.”
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Gardiner blamed audio issues for the reason why the actor couldn’t initially hear her question.
“When I said it, it came out that he couldn’t hear me,” Gardiner told the publication. “I had wanted to ask him about winning at this moment,” she added. “It’s a zeitgeist moment of people finally recognizing the inequalities of organizations.”
In response to a Twitter user who called out Gardiner for not owning her mistake, she tweeted, “I’m sorry you assume I can’t tell these two talented men apart. I messed up my question. I won’t be believed. I apologize to Daniel, the assumption reflects the very world I wanted to ask about. I cannot defend this. I apologize.” She later added, “This is my last tweet on my mistake. I apologize to Daniel Kaluuya for my words. I apologize to anyone else who was offended by them.”
Gardiner’s #KaluuyaGate controversy comes as the HFPA continues to face criticism over its lack of diversity. EW previously reported that the organization allegedly plans to have “at least 13 percent of the membership be Black journalists.”