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Stephen King Explains His Controversial Oscars Tweet

Horror author clarifies in op-ed that Academy Awards 'are still rigged in favor of white people'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2020 6:00 PM CST
This May 22, 2018 file photo shows Stephen King at the 2018 PEN Literary Gala in New York.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – Stephen King ignited controversy earlier this month when, after the Academy Awards nominations included zero female directors and just one actor of color, he tweeted, "I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong." After a flurry of backlash, per USA Today, King is out Monday with an op-ed in the Washington Post backtracking. He admits he stepped over a line with the tweet, though he also says he believed it would be "noncontroversial." And to clarify, he writes that he does believe the Oscars are still "rigged in favor of the white folks," and that he knows it's problematic that those who vote for the awards are overwhelmingly white and male.

As he explains, his "overall attitude" is that, "as with justice, 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. 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." The problem is, "We don’t live in that perfect world, and this year’s less-than-diverse Academy Awards nominations once more prove it." Read his full piece here. "Stephen King got told that he was wrong re: diversity and instead of lashing out, he wrote an op-ed about the whiteness of the Oscars," reads one sample response on Twitter. (Read more Stephen King stories.)

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