'I'm Going to Be Honest' - Hollywood 'More Racist' Than Alabama, Says Actress Octavia Spencer

'I'm Going to Be Honest' - Hollywood 'More Racist' Than Alabama, Says Actress Octavia Spencer

Oscar award-winning actress Octavia Spencer dished on the differences in attitudes about race between her home state of Alabama and when she first got to Hollywood, noting that racism is far worse in Tinsel Town.

In an interview with podcaster Marc Maron, she called Alabama a “beautiful place” with “beautiful people” and that she loves “being from there.”

Maron responded, “But it’s like, it’s heavy, man. Right?”

“I think everywhere is heavy. Every — everywhere has its history. You know what I mean? It’s — I think everywhere has problems, you know,” Spencer replied, adding that “southern history is intense.”

“But that’s why it’s on the brain,” Maron said in response.

“Well, what’s beautiful for me is, that stuff preceded me. You know, I was a child of the seventies… You know, as you grow older and the things that you can remember. That wasn’t a part of my history. I learned about it. It’s not everything — anything that I experienced,” Spencer replied.

“Did it hang over the family in any way?” Maron asked.

“My mother definitely, you know, taught us about the world and the realities, the harsh realities of the world and history. But growing up in Alabama, I’m going to be honest, I felt more racism when I first moved here than I ever, ever had in Alabama,” the actress said.

When she first came to the L.A./Hollywood area, she was thinking, “California is gonna be this free and liberal thinking place.” But, she said she quickly found out differently, comparing an early experience to the hit 1990 movie “Pretty Woman,” starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.

“It is so funny. It’s right out of Pretty Woman,” she said in reference to a scene very early in the movie where Roberts’ character — a scantily-dressed hooker — was followed in a ritzy fashion store on Rodeo Dr. by staffers who did not think she belonged there.

“One of the first things that you do when you move to — or at least that I did. You want to go to those historical places? You want to go to Rodeo Drive. You wanna go to Hollywood Boulevard. You know, the wax museum, all of those landmark places,” Spencer said.

“I remember going into a shop and being followed, like, at first, I didn’t even — I was just like so excited, like just walking around, and then I realized that I was being followed,” she added.

“But I guess it really is — there is a culture of profound racism in Los Angeles,” Maron admitted.

Spencer described the incident as a “glaringly obvious” episode of racism.


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