There is more work to be done to ensure diversity among the Academy Awards’ voter ranks, author Stephen King has noted in a new opinion piece.
The acclaimed writer wrote in an article yesterday (January 27) that the Oscars are “rigged in favour of white folks” and improvements made in redressing the balancing still are “not good enough”.
King’s Washington Post op-ed offered some reprieve with regards to controversial comments he made earlier this month about diversity. The It writer had said on Twitter that he would “never consider diversity in matters of art”, adding that “only quality” was important.
…I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 14, 2020
In the new article the author noted that women now account for 32% of Academy membership, up from 23% eight years ago. Ethnic minorities now make up 16% compared to 6% eight years ago. “Not good enough, he wrote. “Not even within shouting distance of good enough.”
King also said that his original tweet was not intended to be controversial. “Discussions of arts and culture, like discussions of politics, have become increasingly acrimonious and polarised in recent years,” he wrote.
“Lines of belief are drawn with indelible ink, and if you step over them — wittingly or otherwise — you find yourself in the social-media version of the stocks and subject to a barrage of electronic turnips and cabbages.”
Later in the essay, King noted that “judgements of creative excellence should be blind. But that would be the case in a perfect world, one where the game isn’t rigged in favour of the white folks.”
Despite this, he continued to warn against evaluating works of art based on diversity and other criteria that aren’t related to artistic quality.
“Judging anyone’s work by any other standard [besides excellence] 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,” he wrote.
He also refused to apologise for being “white, male, old and rich”.
“The first two traits are genetic, and the last two are the work of Time the Avenger.”