Stephen King did some bad tweets about how we shouldn’t consider diversity in art

I don’t follow Stephen King on Twitter, but I guess I follow a lot of people who follow King, because his tweets always appear in my timeline. King has always been politically liberal, and in the Trump era, he’s grown more vocal, especially on social media. He’s always doing good progressive tweets about Donny Smallhands and his minions, and generally speaking, King has become known as a woke white dude. Right? Right. But even woke white dudes sometimes f–k it all up. Which is what happened this week, in the midst of the annual Oscars So White conversation, where people like Jennifer Lopez, Awkwafina and Lupita Nyong’o were all ignored so that a Japanese tree like Scarlett Johansson could take two nominations. And… Stephen King decided to chime in, and instead of stopping and listening to the actual conversation, King did this:

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 14, 2020

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 14, 2020

The first part is King saying that he’s only allowed to vote in the two screenplay categories and the Best Picture category, so it’s not his fault only one actor of color was nominated in 20 acting slots. Then this: “For me, the diversity issue–as it applies to individual actors and directors, anyway–did not come up.” Again, this is true – he’s not voting in those Oscar categories, although let me just say this too: it’s important to have diversity in screenwriters as well, and it’s important to have diversity behind the camera. It’s important to be open to inclusion at every f–king level, and it’s painful that King isn’t aware of the need to recognize racially and ethnically diverse storytellers and screenwriters, telling different kinds of stories about different kinds of people. (Sidenote: This whole thing reminded me of Mindy Kaling’s beef with the Television Academy about being a woman of color AND a writer and how they tried to erase her and avoid crediting her.)

“I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.” Weird how many white dudes say this and really think that it means something. It’s weird how many white dudes – even woke, liberal-progressive dudes – still think that it would somehow be “reverse racism” (which isn’t a thing) to make a conscious choice to elevate and amplify artists of different races simply because, again, it’s vital that we have artistic representation in all kinds of ways. And it’s weird that white dudes who say they only care about “quality” are the same ones telling the same old stories about white folks, in films made by other white folks.

Anyway, King left those tweet up for several hours, with many people tweeting @ him and Ava DuVernay even got involved. Then King tweeted this:

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 14, 2020

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 14, 2020

Yes. I guess this is his version of an apology – he can’t tweet out “you know what, I listened to what Ava and other people had to say and I was wrong and I’m sorry.” Some men can’t ever do that. But yeah, it looks like he learned the lesson. Note: at no point did I say that I think King should be cancelled. I’m not cancelling him. But he showed his ass here, and I would absolutely appreciate it if he came out and really talked about diversity and inclusion in writing, producing, directing and acting. Hopefully this is a teachable moment.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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