Top writer under fire for ‘ignorant’ tweet
STEPHEN King is under fire on Twitter after downplaying the role of diversity in selecting this year's Academy Award nominees.
"I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality," the 72-year-old tweeted. "It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong."
In an earlier tweet, King wrote that diversity was not even discussed in the categories he was tasked with nominating.
"As a writer, I am allowed to nominate in just 3 categories: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay," he explained. "For me, the diversity issue - as it applies to individual actors and directors, anyway - did not come up."
The author of It, Carrie and The Outsider, a "creepy" thriller series that just started streaming on Foxtel Now, was instantly eviscerated by many on social media, including Selma and When They See Us director Ava DuVernay, who has championed diversity in Hollywood.
"When you wake up, meditate, stretch, reach for your phone to check on the world and see a tweet from someone you admire that is so backward and ignorant you want to go back to bed," she wrote.
Author Roxane Gay also joined in, writing, "As a fan, this is painful to read from you. It implies that diversity and quality cannot be synonymous. They are not separate things. Quality is everywhere but most industries only believe in quality from one demographic. And now, here you are."
"Uh oh … Stephen King is against affirmative action??? I hope he's ready to be cancelled by all the people that LOVE him when he hates on Trump," tweeted comedian Tim Young.
With the utmost respect, I think this is quite a bit unfair. When films created by people of color, irrespective of quality, constantly get overlooked by institutions that are predominately comprised of white men, there is an implicit bias at work here.— Morgan Jerkins (@MorganJerkins) January 14, 2020
The controversial statement came after multiple articles decried the fact that all nominees for the 2020 Best Director Oscar are white and male - even after the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite forced the Academy to adopt diversity reforms.
The LA Times' Jen Yamamoto pointed out that only five women have been nominated for Best Director in the Oscars' nearly 100-year history, with Kathryn Bigelow (Hurt Locker) being the only female director to win the accolade.
King has since spoken out about his comments, tweeting a few hours later: "The most important thing we can do as artists and creative people is make sure everyone has the same fair shot, regardless of sex, colour, or orientation. Right now such people are badly under-represented, and not only in the arts."
He followed it up with: "You can't win awards if you're shut-out of the game."
This article originally appeared on New York Post and was reproduced with permission
Stephen, you know this industry and those in charge, as well as the award voter demo very well so I ask you:— Dani Fernandez (@msdanifernandez) January 14, 2020
who is deciding what’s of “quality” and what do they look like?
you ever notice how its mostly white men that feel this way?— Open Mike Eagle (@Mike_Eagle) January 14, 2020