Zwarte Pieten (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/EnSintClopedie) - Credit: Zwarte Pieten (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/EnSintClopedie)
Friday, 27 November 2015 - 09:44
Zwarte Piet documentary director called “black monkey” in hate mail
Roger Williams, who directed a short documentary about Zwarte Piet, received hate mail in which he was called a "black monkey" after he called Sinterklaas' controversial helper "Holland's dirty little secret". The American director revealed this in an interview with NRC. "They wrote things like 'Eat a banana, you fucking black monkey'. I thought: if Zwarte Piet isn't racist, then why are you saying these racist things to me?" Williams said. "When I made a film about how Uganda persecuted and murdered homosexuals, the Ugandans also said yes, but that's our tradition, you as outsider don't understand." A group of activists protesting against Zwarte Piet in Enkhuizen on Sunday were also called "monkeys and cotton pickers". The short documentary Blackface can be seen on CNN's website from Sunday. Williams tries to explain the tradition of Zwarte Piet to international viewers, but stresses that the documentary is not intended to be a journalistic report. "This is an account of my personal experience with Zwarte Piet. How can I be objective about that?" Williams said. He hopes that the documentary will induce "embarrassment" in Dutch viewers. "The Netherlands is on the wrong side of history."