Stephen King Tweets On Diversity Raised Controversy. He Replied

Stephen King made comments about diversity on Twitter that drew backlash. Then, he wrote a Washington Post op-ed to set the record straight.

Stephen King tweets draw feedback
Stephen King’s tweets about diversity and judging creative work have drawn backlash// Pinguino Kolb [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
A pair of Stephen King tweets about diversity sparked controversy. Now, the author has responded with an op-ed in the Washington Post.

In the article, King clarifies what he said, what he didn’t say and where he stands on the issue.

As I unpack this for you, I want you to think about something: As a creator, when your work is judged, do you want factors, such as your sex, sexual preference, religion or race to be considered?

The Contentious Stephen King Tweets :

These comments are in reference to the Academy Awards.

 

Now, here are some of the types of replies that likely motivated  Stephen King’s op-ed:




 

Now,  before we get into Mr. King’s response, you should know that many, many people who actually read the Stephen King tweets for what they said and NOT for all of the stuff that they think are packed between the lines, showed support and some asked the author not to back way from his comments.

Here are some of those:



From Stephen King’s WaPo Op-ed

The title of King’s op-ed is The Oscars are still rigged in favor of white people.

King starts out saying, “Discussions of arts and culture, like discussions of politics, have become increasingly acrimonious and polarized in recent years. Lines of belief are drawn with indelible ink…

‘I stepped over one of those lines recently, by saying something on Twitter that I mistakenly thought was noncontroversial…”

After giving a little background on his tweets, King  explained that in essence what he said in them is that “those judging creative excellence should be blind to questions of race, gender or sexual orientation.”

“I did not say that was the case today, because nothing could be further from the truth. Nor did I say that films, novels, plays and music focusing on diversity and/or inequality cannot be works of creative genius. They can be, and often are,” he added.

Then, seeming to address comments such as these:


King wrote that some progress has been made toward diversity in the film community.

BUT, “Not good enough. Not even within shouting distance of good enough,” he said.

Another “piece of the puzzle” is that there were about 60 films in serious contention this year, and yes, voters are on the honor system for watching them, he admitted.

“How many of the older, whiter contingent actually saw “Harriet,” about Harriet Tubman, or “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”? Just asking the question.’

“If they did see all the films, were they moved by what they saw? Did they feel the catharsis that’s the basis of all that artists aspire to? Did they understand?” he asked.

King said it’s fair to ask where he stands on diversity, especially since he’s “white, male, old and rich.”

He answers that question by calling attention to his work. He describes Carrie as a “female empowerment novel” and Lisey’s Story as one about the “power of sisterhood.”

King also noted:

When people complained on social media a few years ago about Idris Elba being cast as Roland Deschain, the gunslinger at the center of “The Dark Tower” books, I replied that I didn’t care what the character’s skin color was, as long as he could draw fast and shoot straight.

“The response reflects my overall attitude that, as with justice, judgments of creative excellence should be blind,” King added.

I believe that’s what those Stephen King tweets about diversity were trying to say.

He is one man. He had one vote per category. And as fellow creative, he believes he should judge his peers on their skill and how they used it.

And I wonder if the writers, photographers, YouTubers… who disagree with King’s attitude want others to first consider that they are black, female, gay, Muslim, etc.  and award additional merit for that before judging the quality of their work.

So, that brings us back to my question, as a creator, how do you want to be judged?

The comment section awaits. And if you have something else you’d like to say about the Stephen King tweets, feel free.

By the way, check out: Top quotes from On Writing Well

 


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