Stephen King Admits to 'Stepping Over the Line' With Controversial Oscars Diversity Comments

Having sparked an outcry on social media for suggesting quality was far more important than diversity, the bestselling novelist clarifies his statement through an op-ed for the Washington Post.

AceShowbiz - Horror author Stephen King is clarifying comments he made about the lack of Oscars diversity in a new essay, during which he admits he "stepped over the line".

Earlier this month (January 2020), the writer took to Twitter, as critics took aim at Oscars bosses over the lack of women and actors and artists of colour who were nominated for the 2020 Academy Awards' top honours, and appeared to suggest quality was far more important than diversity.

"As a writer, I am allowed to nominate in just 3 categories: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay," he wrote. "For me, the diversity issue - as it applies to individual actors and directors, anyway - did not come up. That said...".

He followed that up with another tweet, adding: "I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong."

The statement prompted an outcry on social media, as famous faces like director Ava DuVernay scolded King for brushing aside such an important issue.

Now the writer has addressed his statement in an op-ed for the Washington Post, published on Monday, January 27, and he insists he did not intent to spark outrage.

He wrote: "I stepped over one of those lines recently by saying something on Twitter that I mistakenly thought was noncontroversial: 'I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong'. 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... I did not say that was the case today, because nothing could be further from the truth. 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."

"Ava DuVernay's 2019 Netflix miniseries, 'When They See Us', about the wrongful convictions of the Central Park Five, is a splendid case in point."

King concluded: "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."

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