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Ava DuVernay cheerfully dares male directors to sue her if they don't like her all-women hiring policy

Photo: Monica Schipper (Getty Images)

Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar is just a few weeks away from launching its third season on OWN, continuing to chronicle the lives and dramas of the Bordelon family and their 800-acre sugarcance farm. DuVernay created and executive produces the series, and is directly responsible for its hiring policy for directors, which states that only women will ever be tapped to helm an episode of the show. And if male directors don’t like it, well, DuVernay suggested this week, they can sue her.

That was the cheerful gist of a speech the Wrinkle In Time director gave during an acceptance speech at the Gloria Awards earlier this week, recounting a story in which an unnamed male friend (and fellow member of the Directors Guild Of America) called her up to warn her that “there [had] been some complaints] about Queen Sugar’s hiring policies, suggesting they were discriminatory. Per Vanity Fair, DuVernay’s response was unequivocal: “Thank you, friend, thank you for that call. I invite you to tell whoever is feeling discriminated against to sue me so that I can sue every studio that has left women out…’cause we can do this, if that’s what you want to do.”


Queen Sugar isn’t the only show on TV to exclusively hire women to direct; the second season of Jessica Jones did something similar earlier this year. In her speech at the ceremony—where she was receiving a Woman Of Vision Award—DuVernay stressed the importance of carving out these kind of spaces for women in previously male-dominated fields, noting that not just the director’s chair, but all of the major behind-the-scenes roles on the series, are handled by women. “Why did we do this?” she asked. “Because we can. Because we can create spaces that nourish in our own image, in the same way that our male counterparts have created in their own image for over a century.”

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