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Why Denzel Washington Refused To Kiss White Women In Films

Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts at an award show in October 2007 in Beverly Hills, California | Chris Polk/WireImage


Why Denzel Washington Refused To Kiss White Women In Films


Some performers will not do certain things and may even have a personal policy prohibiting them from doing certain scenes due to something that occurred in the past or a personal set of values. Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts featured in The Pelican Brief back in the day, and there was a scene when Roberts and Washington were meant to kiss, but Denzel refused. He had no animosity for Julia and even said as much, but the reason he didn’t kiss her, and this will most likely astound a few people, is because she is white.

Denzel Washington was often questioned over the years about why he never kissed White ladies in his films, and the actual reason was ultimately revealed. He’s been known to decline kissing sequences with Julia Roberts and other White female co-stars in the past, while accepting kissing scenes with his African American co-stars. Denzel had his reasons for refraining from on-screen kisses with his mista’s sistas.

Denzel hadn’t kissed a White lady on screen in twenty years (in 1992’s Malcolm X), until more recently in the 2012 film “Flight.” This had a lot to do with his respect for Black women and his distaste of how Black actresses were all too frequently not regarded as the object of affection when it came to big motion movies, so he didn’t want to feed into that stereotype.

Allison Samuels’ book, “Off the Record” (Amistad), reveals more details about what went on behind the scenes. Despite the fact that Roberts that insisted that Denzel be hired as her co-star in “The Pelican Brief,” Washington vetoed the steamy scene, according to Samuels, a renowned Newsweek writer. “Black women are not often seen as objects of desire on film. And they have always been my core audience.”

Denzel Washington’s refusal to go lovey dovey with Julia Roberts onscreen, according to, prompted Julia Roberts to say:

“Don’t I have a pulse? Of course I wanted to kiss Denzel. It was his idea to take the damn scenes out.”

Denzel also understands the challenges that women confront in Hollywood as a whole:

“Black or white, there seems to be a cut-off for women,” he said. “Don’t have a couple of kids; you’re out the door. They’re constantly looking for the younger one, the younger one, and for African American women, women of color, it’s doubly hard. And then for dark-skinned African American women, it’s even more difficult.”

His gorgeous wife of 37 years, Pauletta, seems unconcerned about him kissing Black women, White women, or any other woman for that matter…

Wendy Williams asked Pauletta Washington how she deals with all the ladies that want Denzel Washington in an interview, and Pauletta responded:

“I am secure as to who Pauletta is. My mother raised me in a way to know who I am and actually, he married me for who I am.”

Pauletta, in a recent interview with Ebony Magazine, provided some insider information about why she stays: “He has and knows he has stability in me as his wife. That’s what gives him strength, regardless if he misuses it… I can’t dwell on that. But I do know that gives him a great platform to go and fly.”


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