Stephen King may have unwittingly singled himself out as part of Hollywood’s diversity problem.

On Monday, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences received harsh criticism — once again — for its lack of women and people of color among this year’s Oscars nominees.

Shortly after the nominees were announced by presenter Issa Rae (who had quite the one-liner after naming those in the running for Best Director), the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite2020 began to trend on Twitter.

Amid the controversy, King decided to share his perspective on the social media platform. The wildly successful author began his argument by establishing himself as a member of the Academy, saying that he votes in three Oscar 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,” King wrote of his rationale for the individuals he voted to nominate. He added a cliffhanger: “That said…”

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. That said…

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 14, 2020

In his follow-up tweet he elaborated on his thoughts about the subject — and it’s pretty loaded.

“…I would never consider diversity in matters of art,” King wrote. “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 (@StephenKing) January 14, 2020

In response, King received a tsunami of criticism. And ultimately, he gave a nod to the points his critics had made.

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. https://t.co/nPXOeAebkb

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 14, 2020

With all due respect, I’m afraid that a meritocracy could work only if the game weren’t rigged.

— Laura Lippman (@LauraMLippman) January 14, 2020

With the utmost respect, I think this is quite a bit unfair. When films created by people of color, irrespective of quality, constantly get overlooked by institutions that are predominately comprised of white men, there is an implicit bias at work here.

— Morgan Jerkins (@MorganJerkins) January 14, 2020

You’re a very smart person ans one of my favourite writers, but you must acknowledge you’ve had an easier path in your career than a woman or POC, right?

White men disproportionately reward other white men, regardless of quality.

— Faron Gidge 📷 (He/Him) (@FaronGidge) January 14, 2020

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. https://t.co/NZEr9JGYtp

— BlackWomenViews (@blackwomenviews) January 14, 2020

I mean, Stephen King is saying what lots of “well meaning” white folks think. These folks prolly hate 45 & consider themselves good ppl & allies, all that jazz yet here we are🤷🏾‍♀️. The reality is, most WP in this country never think about or consider Black/Brown/Queer folks.

— Reagan Gomez (@ReaganGomez) January 14, 2020

That is like saying “I don’t see color” and as problematic.

— RH (@RevRLHale) January 14, 2020

Missing the point, Stephen

Why are the majority of American and European movies entrusted to male directors? Are they inherently more skilled in this area or does this represent the same inequality that plays out in all other powerful roles in our society?

— Andrew Galvin (@MaxHomo) January 14, 2020

I have pinpointed the precise moment Stephen King got cancelled. It was right here. pic.twitter.com/EFhXlPG1Uh

— neontaster (@neontaster) January 14, 2020

After King was flooded with deluge of backlash, he responded with tweets recognizing the challenges facing artists who aren’t white males. 

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.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 14, 2020

You can’t win awards if you’re shut out of the game.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 14, 2020

The Oscars’ diversity issue was spotlighted for many when, for the second consecutive year, all 20 acting nominees for 2015 films were white. Within days of the resulting uproar, the Academy announced changes aimed at increasing the number of its women and minority members by 2020.

Despite such efforts, the Academy this year failed to give Jennifer Lopez, who was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Award for her role in “Hustlers,” a supporting actress nod. Awkwafina, who made history when she won best lead actress at the Golden Globes this year for her role in “The Farewell” was also snubbed. Other shocking omissions included Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name”) and Lupita Nyong’o (“Us”).

Notable snubs in the directing category — whose nominees, for the second consecutive year, are all men — were Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”), Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”), Marielle Heller (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), Lorene Scafaria (“Hustlers”) and Alma Har’el (Honey Boy).

The first ― and only ― female Oscar winner in the directing category was Kathryn Bigelow, for 2010′s “The Hurt Locker.” Gerwig was nominated for a best director Oscar in 2017 for her directorial debut, “Lady Bird.”

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