Less than two weeks after appearing to talk down the need for dedicated diversity efforts when it comes to Academy Awards recognition, best-selling author Stephen King is sounding off on the ongoing need for inclusion in the film industry.
“I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong,” the 72-year-old tweeted Jan. 14, sparking heated backlash from “When They See Us” filmmaker Ava Duvernay and activist-author Roxane Gay.
Cue the cultural mea culpa: The Oscars “are still rigged in favor of white people,” King, 72, now declares in a new op-ed for the Washington Post.
The man whose pop-lit catalog spawned cinematic classics such as “Carrie,” “The Shining” and “Shawshank Redemption” goes on to proclaim that “creative excellence comes from every walk, color, creed, gender, and sexual orientation, and it’s made richer and bolder and more exciting by diversity, but it’s defined by being excellent.”
King continues, “Judging anyone’s work by any other standard is insulting and worse it undermines those hard-won moments when excellence from a diverse source is rewarded (against, it seems, all the odds) by leaving such recognition vulnerable to being dismissed as politically correct.”
Referencing the initial tweets that sparked online outrage, the “It” author stands by his pronouncement that “judgments of creative excellence should be blind” but apparently this could only be “the case in a perfect world, one where the game isn’t rigged in favor of the white folks.”
The bottom line, King contends in his column, is that the Motion Picture Academy’s voting body stubbornly remains dominated by white males, citing stats that rank female membership at 32% of voters and members of color at 16% even after the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite forced the academy to adopt diversity reforms.
Still, not everyone in the Twitterverse was buying his newfound enlightenment.
“Came a long way in a week there, Stephen,” tweeted one snarky pundit, summing up the feelings of more than a few social media users.
Source: New York Post