Stephen King issues a detailed statement on Oscars diversity issue post backlash

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 29, 2020, 12.37 PM(IST)

File photo of Stephen King Photograph:( AFP )

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Stephen King explained, “Creative excellence comes from every walk, color, creed, gender & sexual orientation -- it’s made richer and bolder and more exciting by diversity, but it’s defined by being excellent."

After he faced backlash over Oscars diversity comment, ace novelist Stephen King has now issued a clarification. 

For the unversed, the author of horror classics ‘Misery’ and ‘Pet Sematary’ Stephen King had said that he never considers diversity in matters of art and only quality. To quote him, he tweeted, “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, I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.”

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The comment was picked up on Twitter as users lashed at him for not being inclusive in nature. Hollywood stars too picked at him and called it a classic case of white male privilege -- something that has been the talk of the town for years and especially gains prominence during the time of awards season. The Academy was specially called out after the Oscars 2020 nominations list came out. 2020 Oscars nominations: 7 snubs that took everyone by surprise

Stephen has now clarified and said, “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.”  See the full Oscars 2020 nominations list here.

“I did not say that was the case today because nothing could be further from the truth,” he continued. “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.”

He went on to say, “But that would be the case in a perfect world, one where the game isn’t rigged in favor of the white folks.” 

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He mentioned how ‘Little Women’ had no mention in the Oscars 2020 nominations list and said that the film’s snub blame could be placed on the demographics of the academy’s voting body, which is still predominantly white and male. He said, “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. Judging anyone’s work by any other standard is insulting and — worse — it undermines those hard-won moments when excellence from a diverse source is rewarded (against, it seems, all the odds) by leaving such recognition vulnerable to being dismissed as politically correct.”

“We don’t live in that perfect world, and this year’s less-than-diverse Academy Awards nominations once more prove it. Maybe someday we will. I can dream, can’t I? After all, I make stuff up for a living,” he concluded in his argument. 

Oscars 2020 ceremony is scheduled for February 10, 2020. 

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