Oscar nominee offended by autograph request

Viola DavisTaraji P. HensonAn autograph seeker asked Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for an autograph, but he held out a photograph of another African-American Best Supporting Actress nominee, Viola Davis, from Doubt. Henson took it in stride, saying goodnaturedly, “That’s not me, that’s Viola,” but understandably, she must have been somewhat offended, as she added, “We don’t all look alike.” Needless to say, he didn’t get his autograph.

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Peter • February 5, 2009 @ 3:24 PM

    Typical! As if she’s never made a similar mistake.

    Enjoy your 15 minutes sweetie.

  2. demigod • February 5, 2009 @ 3:47 PM

    She saw racism where there wasn’t..and they do look alike.

  3. My own opinion • February 5, 2009 @ 5:09 PM

    I wish I could be sure, but I believe that I read that some study found that any race has more difficulty in distinguishing facial features in those of races other than their own. I can’t recall for sure, but I’m pretty certain they attributed it to something other than “racism”.

    And of course, there are other individual factors to consider such as familiarity with the person, memory, the fact that photographs don’t necessarily match a person’s looks in real life and other such things.

    For example, I have mixed up people I barely knew who looked similar (and who were the same race as me); I think that Kanye West and Puffy-Sean-Diddy-P have some similarities in their looks (and egos, it seems); and about 8 years ago I saw Hillary Swank shopping in a store (well away from L.A.) and I had to look twice to make sure it was her, but was only certain because she was with Chad Lowe.

    So, yes, Taraji, maybe the poor guy was mistaken not because of the racist reason you give, but because perhaps you aren’t as famous and recognizable as you like to think you are.

  4. ricky • February 5, 2009 @ 7:27 PM


  5. demigod • February 5, 2009 @ 8:26 PM

    You can be sure the autograph-seeker was non-black by her response. You call that ‘taking it in stride? Goodnaturedly’?

  6. Coop • February 5, 2009 @ 8:28 PM

    I think she handled it perfectly.I spent a few years living in africa and interestingly enough people thought I looked like every white guy on t.v.Go figure, the world is fully of narrow minded people.Broaden your mind a little demigod and you just might see the bigger picture.

  7. demigod • February 5, 2009 @ 8:37 PM

    Coop..you’re silly. I see it for what it is.

  8. Planet Ape • February 5, 2009 @ 8:39 PM

    Hey “my own opinion” how about keeping them a little briefer any one ever accuse you of being a bit of a wind bag?

  9. $$ricky$$ • February 5, 2009 @ 10:07 PM

    i second that!

  10. chickadee • February 6, 2009 @ 2:07 AM

    Hey, don’t knock people for giving well-thought out responses! I always appreciate it when people actually put some effort into their thoughts, whether I agree with them or not.

  11. dave • February 6, 2009 @ 9:18 AM

    I collect autographs. Autographs are big business. Hollywood is full of autograph dealers. These guys head out with stacks of photos and collect as many signed pictures as possible, just for resale.
    A fan would have known who it was in the photo…this person was just an autograph reseller…I’m glad she had a good cutting remark and didn’t sign the autograph!

  12. Monique • February 6, 2009 @ 12:40 PM

    If it was me, I would have laughed and signed the picture saying something funny like – “this isn’t me, I’m much prettier, but have a good day anyway – “

  13. MightyMad • February 6, 2009 @ 12:47 PM

    Here’s something that most white folks don’t know: if you’re black, you will say ‘You don’t all look alike’ to a white person AT LEAST ONCE in your life.
    And no, demigod: they don’t look alike. You’re a moron; start paying attention already.

  14. tributegirl • February 6, 2009 @ 3:02 PM

    MightyMad, why do all black people say that at least once in their lives? Sounds petty to me, I would think that quote would CAUSE racial tension. Also, how do you know most “white folks” don’t know about this?
    And actually, these two ladies DO look a lot alike, they could easily pass as sisters (meaning siblings, I’m sure if I didn’t state that fact, someone would take “sisters” as a racial comment).

  15. D • February 6, 2009 @ 3:05 PM

    Agreed, she didn’t handle it well. She should have rolled with it like Monique said. She didn’t have to play the race card.

  16. quinn • February 6, 2009 @ 4:27 PM

    All black people do not look alike. Just like all white people do not look alike. I think it was some idiot put up by tmz or some other magazine show to cause some humiliation to the actor. That’s big business. It’s not always racist, however.

  17. Trinity • February 6, 2009 @ 8:45 PM

    actually, they do NOT look that much alike. yes, they are both black women, and they are both smiling. all smiling white women don’t look alike, and neither do all smiling asian women.

    and to some of the posters here: before you accuse Ms. Henson, and other black people of being racist or causing racist tension, try examining your own racism clearly displayed in your comments. or maybe it’s not racism, maybe it is just stupidity.

  18. refined • February 6, 2009 @ 9:00 PM

    I agree with you Tributegirl these 2 women not only would pass for siblings, they would pass for identical twins. They both share similar features, they are both black and they are women. I totally see where you are going tributegirl.

  19. Coop • February 6, 2009 @ 10:34 PM

    Beautifully stated ,Trinity,couldn’t agree more.

  20. refined • February 6, 2009 @ 10:55 PM

    I also wanted to add that as a white anglosaxon, I have never been mistaken for another white person by a non-white person. Let me admit that it is racism and it is an inside joke among us whites we do think all you blacks do look alike. WE do not really care about you to take the time to notice your distinct features. So my fellow caucasions cut the crap and tell the truth. Y
    ou are damn racist.

  21. Nancy • February 7, 2009 @ 12:32 AM

    Yeah, I don’t think so, refined!! There is NO such “joke among us whites”, so next time speak for yourself…DON’T SPEAK ON MY BEHALF!

  22. demigod • February 7, 2009 @ 3:17 AM

    What’s stupid is anyone who doesn’t realize Ms.Henson’s implication of saying that to a non-black individual. There IS a racial tone there. She IS arrogant.
    refined..you are not allowed to speak.

  23. Pinoy • February 7, 2009 @ 3:31 AM

    My Own Opinion (the poster) – You’re right. There was a study done that says that people of one rce find it difficult to distinguish individuals from another race. Hell, I’m Filipino and I think a lot of Filipinos look alike.

    I also agree with dave – if you’re asking for an autograph as a fan, you’ll ask the right person. Dude was obviously not a fan so I wouldn’t sign the autograph either. Or better yet, sign my name to the other person’s picture.

  24. Justine • February 7, 2009 @ 11:58 AM

    I’m white and I sometimes have trouble telling white people apart when they have similar facial features and the same hair. Case in point: Actresses Maggie Grace (Lost) and Leslie Bibb (Popular). To me, they’re like twins. I have an easier time telling the Olsen twins apart than those two. And also Amber Marshall (Heartland) and Kate Todd (Life wth Derek). When I first saw Kate Todd on Life with Derek, I was 100% positive that it was Amber Marshall, until I checked the credits at the end.

  25. Jo-Anne. • February 7, 2009 @ 5:33 PM

    I’ve never seen either of these women before in my life, they don’t look even remotely similar and Henson’s remark was totally unnecessary….she should have ended the sentence after “Viola” instead of making herself appear so petty…

  26. mandee • February 7, 2009 @ 9:08 PM

    i am surprised that tribute kept *refined*’s post up. is there really anyone here that doesnt see a problem with this? they dont let us openly pick on each other *even when both parties are saying terrible, hurtful things to one another* they delete our posts, but are totally fine with someone claiming that all white people are racist? and saying very very racist things? i can kind of see some similarities in these 2 women, but not enough for anyone to mistake them as the same person. and lol@your comment tribute girl about how if you dont specify what you meant by sisters it would become racial. that was pretty cute. but i still think tribute needs to rethink which posts are considered deletable, and which ones they should be keeping. i, for one, am very very disappointed as well as surprised that an entire day has passed, and theres still a terribly racial post on this article.

  27. moveon • February 10, 2009 @ 2:31 PM

    It seems by reading these postsm, that things are being blow totally out of proportion.. who cares,, most celebs follow a trend for looks no matter what colour they are,, I find teenagers all look the same to me.lol.. so why wouldnt people of any colour…Watch the show “Lookalike” and you’ll see how people with similar facial shapes can look exactly like someone else that looks similar…

  28. Benjamin Button • November 3, 2009 @ 3:23 PM

    Let’s not take things so seriously.

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