Hollywood actor Ben Stiller has his say over nepotism in the entertainment industry.

On July 27, 2021, the 55-year-old took to Twitter to respond to a thread by Franklin Leonard, founder of The Black List and contributing editor at Vanity Fair. 

In the tweet, Leonard had quoted an article about the children of several Hollywood stars working on a short film together.

"Hollywood's a meritocracy, right?" Leonard wrote in his tweet.

He added another thread expressing,

The short film he referred to is titled The Rightway. It stars Hopper Penn, the son of famous actors Sean Penn and Robin Wright, and veteran actor Brian d'Arcy James.

In addition, the film is directed and written by Destry Spielberg, the daughter of acclaimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg, and Owen King, the son of horror author Stephen King.

Replying to Leonard's series of tweets, Stiller asked him, as well as others, to support the work, saying, "Too easy @franklinleonard. People, working, creating. Everyone has their path. Wish them all the best."


A post shared by Ben Stiller (@benstiller)

The debate continued as the contributing editor replied to Stiller, stating he valued the work, but more importantly, he felt the need to acknowledge the paths to get into those works.

The actor and director, Stiller, again responded, writing,

Yes. Just speaking from experience, and I don’t know any of them, I would bet they all have faced challenges. Different than those with no access to the industry. Show biz as we all know is pretty rough, and ultimately is a meritocracy.

While the long debate over nepotism in Hollywood continued between Stiller and Leonard, the actor's defense of nepotism didn't sit well with several self-made artists and fans. Stiller, himself, is the son of famous actors Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara.

"Ben Stiller deciding that Hollywood is 'ultimately a meritocracy' is so funny to me," one tweeted.

Another laughed at the actor's tweet, saying, "Not Ben Stiller trying to convince us that Stephen King’s son, Sean Penn’s son, and Stephen Spielberg’s daughter have not had an easier path into the industry."

Actress Pia Glenn also addressed the irony on Twitter, writing, 

Another topic from today that has CLEARLY been handled...in which Franklin Leonard gently refers to Hollywood nepotism and then is challenged by Ben Stiller, the child of entertainment industry comedy royalty.

Since the debate had a lot to do with the short film's writer and director Spielberg, she also took to Twitter to react to the situation.

The 24-year-old aspiring filmmaker explained she acknowledged being born with privilege. But that being said, she aims to bring new talent into the industry and provide opportunities to artists of all backgrounds.

Before dropping her final words, Spielberg wrote another tweet, saying, "I am just a young aspiring female filmmaker who admires the art of cinema."

"People can argue nepotism, but I know deep down that I worked hard to get where I am and it wasn’t easy. Beyond proud of this film and proud of the team it took to make it," she had added in a since-deleted tweet.

But all in all, she feels no one should be left out just because they do not have connections in the industry.