James Patterson is sorry for saying white writers face “another form of racism”

One of the most prolific writers of a generation regrets his boomer take.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 07: James Patterson attends the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards at Al...
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Actually, James Patterson doesn’t really think dudes like him are discriminated against. The prolific author has walked back his recent comments that white male writers face “another form of racism.”

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Patterson, who has one of the most successful careers of any writer in modern history with over a dozen works adapted for TV and film, had said that when it comes to getting writing gigs in entertainment and publishing, white guys are up against it. "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,” he said. The 75-year old author of books such as his Alex Cross series also noted his dismay over publisher Hachette Book Group reversing plans to publish Woody Allen’s 2020 memoir (which was soon picked up by another publisher). "I hated that," he said. "He has the right to tell his own story."

Now Patterson, facing wide backlash since his interview was published on Sunday, has issued an apology on Twitter, backpedaling on his spicy take. "I apologize for saying white male writers having trouble finding work is a form of racism,” he wrote. “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."

It goes without saying that Patterson’s claim is categorically false: multiple surveys reveal that the publishing industry, for instance, skews overwhelmingly white, from the authors whose work is published to those editing the books. The same goes for the world of theater, and, even amid a years-long push for more diversity, the data trends similarly in Hollywood.

But the apology, of course, doesn’t matter much and wasn’t really necessary damage control — one of the best-selling authors of all time with over 300 books to his name, Patterson, it’s probably safe to say, is not going to suffer from languishing book sales regardless of what boomer thoughts he slings out onto the internet. If anything, it’ll help. Did people know that Patterson was speaking to promote his upcoming memoir, James Patterson: The Stories of My Life? Now you do.