Author Stephen King received a full blast of anger from social media on Tuesday after he waded into diversity controversy clouding the 2020 Oscar nominations, saying that art should be judged based on its "quality" rather than on its "diversity."
On Monday, the Academy revealed the nominations for its 92nd annual Academy Awards. Social media users went on the offensive after discovering that no women had been nominated for best director and that very few people of color were nominated at all.
You can read the full list of nominees here.
What did he say?
King, a 72-year-old proud progressive who is also an Oscar voter, made the remarks on Twitter.
He wrote, "As a writer, I am allowed to nominate in just 3 categories: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay. For me, the diversity issue — as it applies to individual actors and directors, anyway — did not come up."
As a writer, I am allowed to nominate in just 3 categories: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Origina… https://t.co/Y8JJL1TZ83— Stephen King (@Stephen King)1579004301.0
“That said, I would never consider diversity in matters of art," he continued. "Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong."
...I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.— Stephen King (@Stephen King)1579004415.0
What was the response?
One person in particular who was not very happy with King's remarks was director Ava DuVernay.
She responded to King's remarks on Twitter, calling his remarks out as "backward and ignorant."
"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 complained.
When you wake up, meditate, stretch, reach for your phone to check on the world and see a tweet from someone you ad… https://t.co/aeRncZ9UXW— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay)1579014950.0
Here are some more interesting reactions
- Not Stephen King's best week on Twitter.
- Stephen King and other white dudes are WAY too confident in spouting wrong opinions on Twitter.
- Who would have thought the scariest thing Stephen King ever wrote would be his Twitter account?
- Stephen King is my literary inspiration. But man, I sort of wish he wasn't on Twitter. I don't know what exactly this forum does to people, but it's not flattering.
- Notice how quality is framed as innately the opposite of diversity (whiteness)? Diversity is not deficiency and it is not charity. Stephen King is a perfect example here of why these awards shows are so vvhite.
- 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.
- Damn, Stephen. Damn. I thought you were better than this. It should be obvious that diversity and quality *aren't separate qualities,* or in opposition to each other -- except in the minds of bigots. Damn.
King issued further thoughts on art and diversity a few hours after his initial remarks.
"The most important thing we can do as artists and creative people is make sure everyone has the same fair shot, regardless of sex, color, or orientation. Right now such people are badly under-represented, and not only in the arts," he insisted, adding "You can't win awards if you're shut out of the game."
The most important thing we can do as artists and creative people is make sure everyone has the same fair shot, reg… https://t.co/hkjSfDEPmm— Stephen King (@Stephen King)1579013786.0
You can't win awards if you're shut out of the game.— Stephen King (@Stephen King)1579013945.0
(H/T: The Daily Wire)