Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump weighed in Wednesday on the latest controversy over the Oscars: That no actors of color were nominated for the 88th Academy Awards.
"It would certainly be nice if everybody could be represented properly -- and hopefully that's the case," Trump said in a phone interview with Fox News. "But perhaps it's not the case. It's a -- it's a difficult situation."
The former television star called it "sad" that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences failed to name any black nominees in the top four acting categories for the second year in a row. But he also dismissed calls for an awards show boycott, proposed earlier this week by Rev. Al Sharpton.
"I think it's a tough situation. I think it's really sad," Trump said. "And you know, Al is just a guy who wants to get publicity for himself. And I understand him very well."
The GOP front-runner went on to praise an earlier interview with Fox News contributor and actress Stacey Dash, who proposed abolishing networks like Black Entertainment Television in the name of equality.
"I saw somebody on your show today saying, 'Well, what do we do with BET?'" Trump said. "Over there, the whites don't get any nominations."
"I thought it was an amazing interview actually," he continued. "I'd never even thought of it from that standpoint."
Dash, who called the Oscars boycott "ludicrous," said Wednesday that "we have to make up our minds" about race relations.
"Either we want to have segregation or integration," she said. "If we don't want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the Image Awards, where you're only awarded if you're black. If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It's a double standard."
Trump added, in his interview, that there have been "numerous" times where African Americans had received awards, and "this doesn't happen to be one of those years."
Ben Carson, the only black American running for president, also weighed in on the Oscars debate on Tuesday, saying he was not "terribly concerned" about the lack of diverse nominees for the Academy Awards.
"I've said often that diversity is one of America's greatest strengths. Americans from all walks of life have riveting and important stories to tell, and Hollywood could do a better job of honoring all of these stories, regardless of who tells them or the ideology they represent," the former neurosurgeon said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "But at the end of the day, the American people have far more important concerns than a few Hollywood elites handing themselves awards."
"If we paid as much attention to growing the economy as we do to the extravagant, more than $30 million Oscar party the glitterati throw for themselves, we might have fewer families wondering how they're going to make ends meet," he added.
for more features.