Viola Davis Recalls The Time A Director Called Her His Maid’s Name

Viola Davis opens up about the microaggressions she has faced while in Hollywood. 

During a conversation at the 75th annual Cannes Festival, the multi-award-winning actress talked about the time when a director called her his maid’s name. 

The topic came about when Davis was speaking on Hollywood’s perception of Black people in Hollywood. 

“I had a director who did that to me. He said, “Louise!” she recalled. “I knew him for 10 years and he called me Louise and I find out that it’s because his maid’s name is Louise.”

Davis continued, “I was maybe around 30 at the time, so it was a while ago. But what you have to realize is that those micro-aggressions happen all the time.”

She added that this led to her struggles in getting particular roles despite her accomplishments. 

“I know that when I left ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ that I don’t see a lot of dark skin women in lead roles on TV and not even in streaming services. And that ties into ideology and ethos and mentality, and that’s speaking in the abstract. Why aren’t you hiring a dark skin woman when she walks in the room and you say she blows you away? Creat space and storytelling for her so when she thrives she’s not thriving despite of her circumstance but thriving because of her circumstance.” 

Davis continues, “If I wanted to play a mother whose family lives in a low-income neighborhood and my son was a gang member who died in a drive-by shooting, I could get that made. If I played a woman who was looking to recreate herself by flying to Nice and sleeping with five men at the age of 56- looking like me, I’m going to have a hard time pushing that one, even as Viola Davis.” 

Lastly, she said, “A lot of it is based on race. It really is. Let’s be honest. If I had my same features and I were five shades lighter, it would just be a little bit different. And if I had blonde hair, blue eyes, and even a wide nose, it would be even a little bit different than what it is now. We could talk about colorism, we could talk about race. It pisses me off, and it has broken my heart- on a number of projects, which I won’t name.” 

What are your thoughts on this?