Rita Moreno apologises for defending In The Heights in colourism row

Lin-Manuel Miranda Is Honored With A Star On The Hollywood Walk of Fame

Moreno has apologised for defending Lin-Manuel Miranda and In The Heights (Picture: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Oscar-winning actress Rita Moreno has said she is ‘incredibly disappointed’ with herself after dismissing criticism of diversity in the musical In The Heights.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, who produced the newly released film as well as creating the stage production on which it is based, apologised for the lack of darker skinned actors in the movie.

In The Heights has been praised as a step forward for Latino representation in Hollywood, though criticism focused on the absence of Afro-Latino actors.

Puerto Rican actress Moreno, who won an Oscar for playing Anita in 1961 musical West Side Story, appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and defended Miranda, saying ‘you can never do right’.

She said critics of Miranda, who is of Puerto Rican descent, should have ‘left it alone, just for now’.

However, Moreno, 89, has now backtracked and said on Twitter: ‘I’m incredibly disappointed with myself.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Moreno had suggested the issue should be ‘left alone’ (Picture: Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images)

‘While making a statement in defence of Lin-Manuel Miranda on the Colbert Show last night, I was clearly dismissive of black lives that matter in our Latin community.

‘It is so easy to forget how celebration for some is lament for others.

‘In addition to applauding Lin for his wonderful movie version of In The Heights, let me add my appreciation for his sensitivity and resolve to be more inclusive of the Afro-Latino community going forward. See, you CAN teach this old dog new tricks.’

Miranda served as a producer on new documentary Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It, which explores the actress’ life and career.

During her appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Moreno said: ‘It’s like you can never do right it seems. This is the man who literally has brought Latino-ness and Puerto Rican-ness to America. I couldn’t do it.

‘I mean, I would love to say I did, but I couldn’t. Lin-Manuel has done that, really single-handedly, and I’m thrilled to pieces, and I’m proud that he produced my documentary.’

IN THE HEIGHTS Copyright: ? 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.? 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Macall Polay Caption: (L-r) DASCHA POLANCO as Cuca, DAPHNE RUBIN-VEGA as Daniela and STEPHANIE BEATRIZ as Carla in Warner Bros. Pictures? ?IN THE HEIGHTS,? a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

In The Heights has been a critical success (Picture: Macall Polay)

On Monday, Miranda tweeted a statement which said he can ‘hear the hurt and frustration over colourism’ and admitted the film ‘fell short’.

He said: ‘I hear that, without sufficient dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation, the world feels extractive of the community we wanted so much to represent with pride and joy. In trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short. I’m truly sorry.’

Miranda also thanked critics for raising the issue, and promised to ‘do better’ in future projects.

The film is directed by Jon M Chu and stars Anthony Ramos in the lead role.

In The Heights has been a hit with critics but opened to an underwhelming box office performance.


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