Stephen King is clarifying his position on awards season diversity.
Earlier this month, the novelist and Academy member caught backlash online after tweeting about his Oscar ballot.
“As a writer, I am allowed to nominate in just 3 categories: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay,” King wrote. “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 me that to do otherwise would be wrong.”
Now, in a new op-ed for The Washington Post, the author has responded to criticism, including from director Ava DuVernay, of his earlier comments, alleging that the Oscars are “rigged in favour of white people.”
“Discussions of arts and culture, like discussions of politics, have become increasingly acrimonious and polarized in recent years,” Kind said. “Lines of belief are drawn with indelible ink, and if you step over them — wittingly or otherwise — you find yourself in the social-media version of the stocks and subject to a barrage of electronic turnips and cabbages.
He continued, “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. I also said, in essence, that those judging creative excellence should be blind to questions of race, gender or sexual orientation.”
King further clarifying that he did not intend to imply works by people of colour are not worthy of praise or awards.
“I did not say that was the case today, because nothing could be further from the truth,” he wrote. “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. Ava DuVernay’s 2019 Netflix miniseries, ‘When They See Us’, about the wrongful convictions of the Central Park Five, is a splendid case in point.”