"I apologize for saying white male writers having trouble finding work is a form of racism."
update June 15, 2022 1:55 a.m. pdt
After his comments were widely reported, Patterson retracted most of them with an apology tweet on Tuesday. The prolific author apologized for saying the trouble white men have in finding work "is a form of racism."
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. Please know that I strongly support a diversity of voices being heard—in literature, in Hollywood, everywhere.
James Patterson may make his living with words, but he certainly didn't get on anyone's good sides with the ones he chose in a recent interview about diversity in publishing and writing.
The prolific author was claiming that it's getting more and more challenging for white men to find jobs as writers in film, television, theater, and even book publishing. He described the situation as "just another form of racism."
Patterson says this as white males continue to be a dominant presence on book bestseller lists and continue to have an outsized presence in every form of entertainment. He was, however, referring to new white male writers, suggesting that it would be harder for them to get started.
"What's that all about?" Patterson continued, referring to the perceived injustice. "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."
Essentially, he seems to be espousing the unproven theory that making room for more diverse voices inevitably pushes down (or out altogether) the voices of the majority presence (i.e., white males).
While talking about his own memoir, "The Stories of My Life," Patterson also expressed disappointment in his publisher, Hachette Book Group, for their decision to back out of publishing Woody Allen's memoir back in 2020.
He argued that he's "almost always on the side of free speech," arguing that the beleaguered director as "the right to tell his own story."
Patterson himself has come under criticism in more recent decades for his extensive use of co-writers, with the author even admitting that he's more of an idea guy than a sentence-by-sentence guy, suggesting that the co-authors do most of the actual writing.
It has been suggested, though, that Patterson did more of the heavy lifting as author in recent collaborations with Bill Clinton and Dolly Parton. The latter, entitled "Run, Rose, Run," is slated for a big-screen adaptation with Parton set to star in and produce it.
As expected, Patterson's hot takes immediately lit up a firestorm on social media, as the last people who could be considered the victims of any form of racism would be white men.
And just to add that two of the people having huge success in the novel space during the ten years I've been writing are a black woman and a trans woman, neither of whom I felt detracted from my success. If you can't compete get good. Don't hate the player hate the game.
All I'll say about James Patterson is that his idea that cis white male authors are discriminated against/losing out, despite his continued success, is directly related to the replacement theory driving white supremacy, anti-trans laws, roe v wade, and everything else going on.
James Patterson has a net worth of over 700 million dollars meanwhile BIPOC in publishing are still struggling to pay their rent and working for well under a living wage but please tell me again how racism is hurting older white men in the industry
James Patterson's words aren't just ignorant. They're dangerous. "I'm worried that it is hard for white men" is White Supremacy 101. They spread fear-based lies to maintain their own power. Please fight this bullshit every chance you get, especially if you're a white man.
One of the strange things here is that James Patterson is uniquely qualified to hire a bunch more white men to write his books if he worries they aren’t getting publishing opportunities. https://t.co/j1kN539Zsx
As a librarian, all I’m saying is that my library could replace half of our James Patterson books with books by marginalized authors and we would still have more Patterson books than books by almost any other single author.