James Patterson apologizes for saying white writers face ‘a form of racism’

James Patterson, the prolific author of thrillers and other bestselling books, apologized Tuesday after saying in an interview that older white male writers are facing “just another form of racism” that makes it difficult for them to find work.

The comments by Mr Patterson, widely seen as among the most commercially successful writers of the past several decades, drew a backlash immediately after they were published this week in Sunday times in London.

“I apologize to say that white male writers who have difficulty finding work is a form of racism,” Mr. Patterson said. wrote on facebook Tuesday. “I do not at all believe that racism is practiced against white writers. Please know that I strongly support a variety of voices being heard – in literature, in Hollywood, everywhere.”

Patterson, 75 and white, has sold nearly 450 million books since 1976, according to the Sunday Times.

A staple on bestseller lists, he has written children’s books and biographies as well as works of science fiction and fantasy. He is perhaps best known for the Women’s Murder Club mystery series and his series on Alex Cross, a black detective and psychologist. The Cross books have been made into movies starring Morgan Freeman and Tyler Perry.

Mr. Patterson also authored two books with former President Bill Clinton and one book, “Run, Rose, Run” with Dolly Parton, published in March. got National Humanities Medal In 2019. A White House quote accompanying the honor called him “one of the most successful American authors of our time.”

In his interview with the Sunday Times, Mr. Patterson spoke about the success of Cross Books.

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“I just wanted to create a character who happened to be black,” he said. “I wouldn’t have tried to write a serious story about a black family. It’s different in a detective story because the plot is so important.”

But it is Patterson’s comments about the older white writers that have drawn the most attention. The newspaper reported that Mr. Patterson had expressed concern that it would be difficult for these writers to find work in film, theatre, television and publishing.

The problem is “just another form of racism,” Mr. Patterson told the Sunday Times from his balcony on the Hudson River, north of New York City. The newspaper reported that he spends most of the year in Florida.

“Uncle all of this?” Mr. Patterson said. “Can you get a job? Yes. Is it harder? Yes. It is more difficult for older writers. You don’t meet many 52-year-old white males.”

Commentaries have been harshly criticized by writers and others, noting that despite efforts to increase diversity, the publishing world Remained overwhelmingly white.

Mr. Patterson’s publisher, Hachette, found that 34% of contracts With new contributors going to authors and illustrators who were black, Indigenous, or Colored, according to a report in March, compared to 29 percent in 2020 and 22 percent in 2019. Within the company, about 65 percent of the workforce was white, the report said. About 78 percent of employees in “chief manager” positions were white.

in Penguin Random House Audit Of its shareholders, including authors, illustrators and other creators, the company found that 75 percent are white, 5 percent are Hispanic, 6 percent are black and about 7 percent are Asian.

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Chola Moss Chogbamemo, author of This Is Why I’m Resisting: Don’t Define My Black Identity, writes, on Twitter. She suggested that Mr. Patterson read books to educate himself on racism.

“Has he missed the old days when white men had all their clerical gigs?” I wrote.

Jason Pinter, founder of Polis Books, an independent publisher, said he’s been at editorial meetings where books for black, Aboriginal and other writers of color have been rejected because “we already have one.”

“I respect all that James Patterson has done for the Indies and giving back to the industry, but his comments on race are false, harmful and deeply stigmatizing,” Mr. Pinter wrote. on Twitter.

Frederick Joseph – Author of “The Black Friend: Being a Better White Person” and “The Patriarchal Blues: Reflections on Manhood” – He said “Patriarchal Blues” was rejected by 20 publishers “who didn’t think people would buy a black man’s book discussing patriarchy”.

“James Patterson believes that white men face racism in publishing,” Mr. Joseph Wrote on Twitter on Monday. “From a black man that has had over 50 rejected books (all of which are now bestsellers) because white editors don’t understand them or they “actually have black male authors”…shut up.”

Rebecca Carroll, author of the memoirs”Surviving the white gazeHe also dismissed Mr. Patterson’s comments.

“Imagine being born the year Jackie Robinson was the first black MLB player in history,” she wrote on twitterHe then grows up to be one of the richest authors in America who talks about the struggle for white men as ‘another form of racism.’ “

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