Stephen King has clarified comments he made about the lack of diversity at the 2020 Academy Awards.
Earlier this month, the horror author, who can vote in three Oscars categories, waded in on the controversy over the lack of women and people of colour nominated this year, and faced backlash from the likes of Ava DuVernay for tweeting that he would never consider diversity in regards to art and only focused on quality.
Now, the author has seemingly backtracked on his comments, and in an op-ed for The Washington Post published on Monday, he insisted he didn’t intend to spark outrage.
“I stepped over one of those lines recently by saying something on Twitter that I mistakenly thought was noncontroversial: ‘I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong’. The subject was the Academy Awards,” King began. “I also said, in essence, that those judging creative excellence should be blind to questions of race, gender or sexual orientation.”
He denied he meant movies focusing on diversity and inequality “cannot be works of creative genius,” and noted that DuVernay’s 2019 Netflix miniseries, When They See Us, was a “splendid case in point.”
“Judgments of creative excellence should be blind. But that would be the case in a perfect world, one where the game isn’t rigged in favor of the white folks,” he wrote. “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. 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.”
King also questioned whether voters had seen all the eligible films and wrote that he hoped the demographic of the Oscars voting pool would eventually catch up with today’s diverse society.
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