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James Patterson apologizes for saying white male writers are victims of ‘racism’

The Sunday Times paraphrased Patterson in an article as worrying “that it is hard for white men to get writing gigs in film, theatre, TV or publishing.”
Late Night with Seth Meyers - Season 8
Author James Patterson appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers on June 23, 2021.Lloyd Bishop / NBCU Photo Bank
/ Source: TODAY

Author James Patterson apologized Tuesday after being criticized for comments he made to a British newspaper about white male writers being the victims of “racism.”

In an article published Sunday, The Sunday Times paraphrased Patterson as worrying “that it is hard for white men to get writing gigs in film, theatre, TV or publishing.”

The Sunday Times quoted Patterson as saying the alleged problem is “just another form of racism. What’s that all about?”

“Can you get a job? Yes. Is it harder? Yes. It’s even harder for older writers. You don’t meet many 52-year-old white males,” Patterson told the outlet.

Tuesday afternoon, Patterson shared an apology on Twitter.

“I apologize for saying white male writers having trouble finding work is a form of racism. I absolutely do not believe that racism is practiced against white writers,” he wrote. “Please know that I strongly support a diversity of voices being heard—in literature, in Hollywood, everywhere.”

Patterson, who has penned and published more than 200 books since his first in 1976, has had several of his novels adapted for the screen. Morgan Freeman famously played one of his characters, Alex Cross, in the 1997 film "Kiss the Girls" and in "Along Came a Spider” in 2001. Tyler Perry later took over the role in the third installment of the series, in the 2012 film "Alex Cross."

Patterson’s recent written collaboration with country superstar Dolly Parton, "Run Rose, Run," was just picked up by Sony Pictures in a “highly competitive bidding situation” for a film adaptation, according to Parton’s website.

The percentage of writing credits by people of color in last year’s top 200 films had more than quadrupled since 2011, jumping from 7.6 to 32.3 percent, according to UCLA’s Hollywood Diversity Report 2022.

“People of color nonetheless would have to increase their 2021 share by about 10 percentage points to reach proportionate representation in this employment arena (42.7%),” the report reads.

In the United States, non-White people make up about 40 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In a 2020 analysis, The New York Times found that in a sample of 7,124 books published between 1950 and 2018, 95 percent were written by white people and in the year 2018, 89 percent were.