Should diversity be a factor when considering film and TV projects for awards consideration?

It’s a topic that has garnered much controversy in recent years, and one person who’s taken a firm stand is Stephen King.

In a series of tweets, the renowned horror author declared his belief that artistic merit should outweigh matters of diversity in all cases.

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As an Academy Award voter, King wrote that he can only vote for nominees in three categories. “For me, the diversity issue – as it applies to individual actors and directors, anyway – did not come up. That said, I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to be to do otherwise would be wrong.”

Ava DuVernay, however, does not share that opinion, and issued a terse response, calling King’s tweet “backward and ignorant,” despite her admiration for him.

A while later, King offered some clarification, seemingly walking back his earlier comments by insisting on the importance of ensuring “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.”

DuVernay, however, let her feelings be known about what she described as King’s “cleanup tweet” in order “to justify it all.”

Cynthia Erivo also weighed in on the controversy. Erivo starred in HBO’s “The Outsider”, which is based on King’s novel of the same name.

“I can’t solve how you balance diversity with quality of work,” the Oscar-nominated actress said at Wednesday’s Television Critics Association winter press tour, per Entertainment Tonight. “I’d like to think I’m part of the world of diversity… ” think we have to open the doors and our eyes to people making that work.”

“But it’s up to those people doing things a certain way to shake up their ideas,” Erivo continued. “Change the way they think, change the way they’re casting, change the way they hire producers and directors and writers, and make sure that reflects the world that we live in.”

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