Author James Patterson stepped in it Monday, trending on Twitter after alleging that older white, male writers are having a hard time getting jobs or published because of race.
Patterson made the controversial comments during an interview with The Sunday Times of London. His remarks set Twitter on fire.
The prolific, 75-year-old writer has published over 200 books and sold more than 400 million copies. He has written novels with everyone from Bill Clinton to Dolly Parton.
According to the Daily Mail, his books have earned him in excess of $677 million during his writing career. However, Patterson is ranked No. 15 on Forbes’ list of 2020 Celebrity 100 Earnings, citing him as America’s highest-paid author with a net worth of $80 million.
“[It’s] just another form of racism,” he asserted. “What’s that all about? 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.”
Anyone else still read the Sunday paper? Asking for a friend. 😊 pic.twitter.com/UIIm9JLg4m
— James Patterson (@JP_Books) June 12, 2022
He asserted that “white older male writers” aren’t getting hired for “writing gigs in film, theatre, TV or publishing.”
The author’s response followed the interviewer asking about one of Patterson’s most famous characters, a black man named Alex Cross. The black detective inspired three film adaptations, two starring Morgan Freeman and one with Tyler Perry.
“I just wanted to create a character who happened to be black,” he contended. “I would not have tried to write a serious saga about a black family. It’s different in a detective story because plot is so important.”
“I get it. How could we run through that period, especially in Hollywood, where there was all this talent and nobody got hired?” Patterson posited.
He also discussed Woody Allen’s publisher dropping his memoir ostensibly due to sexual abuse allegations.
Patterson stated in response to Allen getting the boot, “I’m almost always on the side of free speech.”
“I hated that,” the author declared. “He has the right to tell his own story.”
“Do I know what went on between Allen and the Farrows?” he asked. “Nope. And neither do you.”
Patterson recently made the best seller list for “Run, Rose, Run,” his fiction collaboration with singer and actress Dolly Parton. Now, he’s promoting “James Patterson: The Stories of My Life,” a memoir about how he rose from “a boy from small-town New York (to) become the world’s most successful writer.”
“I was driven early on because I really believed that my parents wouldn’t love me as much if I wasn’t successful,” he added. “I don’t think I am the same person now. I do believe that I’m loveable. I think I’m a decent person.”
Twitter savaged Patterson for the comments on race, charging that he lacked self-awareness given his success, wealth, and privilege.
Woke, New York Times best-selling author Frederick Joseph nailed Patterson: “James Patterson thinks white men are facing racism in publishing. From a Black man who has had over 50 rejections of books (all of which are now bestsellers) because white editors don’t understand them or ‘already have Black male authors’… shut up. Also, James has a ghostwriter.”
James Patterson thinks white men are facing racism in publishing. From a Black man who has had over 50 rejections of books (all of which are now bestsellers) because white editors don’t understand them or “already have Black male authors”… shut up. Also, James has a ghostwriter. https://t.co/PSoiffvAHT
— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) June 13, 2022
Another New York Times best-selling author named Justina Ireland had bitter words for Patterson: “I’m still mad about James Patterson clumsily trying to talk about race so I checked this week’s bestseller list and huh, he’s right there are so few white dudes and so many people of color. LOL, not really.”
I’m still mad about James Patterson clumsily trying to talk about race so I checked this week’s bestseller list and huh, he’s right there are so few white dudes and so many people of color.
LOL, not really.
Hardcover Fiction Books – Best Sellers – Books https://t.co/zLeENmkvWh
— Justina Ireland (@justinaireland) June 14, 2022
Publicist Lisa Braun Dubbels was blunt in her criticism of Patterson as well, tweeting, “If we’re being honest, James Patterson and his exorbitant multi-figure advances for books he doesn’t write are 90% of the problem with publishing.”
If we're being honest, James Patterson and his exorbitant multi-figure advances for books he doesn't write are 90% of the problem with publishing.
— Lisa Braun Dubbels (@lisadubbels) June 14, 2022
Others piled on with a mix of envy, bitterness, and social outrage that was almost impressive. It’s a smorgasbord of woke angst:
I’m a 50-year-old white writer. And, to James Patterson I say, warmly, boo-fucking-hoo https://t.co/IwBQMpWrh6
— Jeff Pearlman (@jeffpearlman) June 13, 2022
to be fair, older white men do experience another form of racism, wherein a lot of people assume that they're stuck in whatever years their prime was, and generally just kind of think of them as being dickweeds, like james patterson
the other form of racism, "actual," is worse! https://t.co/9b1gx3foB1
— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) June 14, 2022
The funny thing about James Patterson crying that the book industry is racist against rich, old white men, is that most of his ghostwriters aren't even rich, old, white men.
— Tasia Bass (@GroovyTasia) June 13, 2022
For anyone who doesn’t know, James Patterson launched a children’s imprint that published many diverse works, then up and decided one day it would only publish his own work.
His whole “white authors are suffering thing” comes after a “I want to profit off diversity” thing 😒
— Sandra Proudman 🇲🇽✊🏼 (@SandraProudman) June 13, 2022
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.
— Brian McAuley (@BrianMcWriter) June 13, 2022
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.
— Alyssa Cole Updates (@AlyssaColeLit) June 13, 2022
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
— Leah says WEAR A MASK (@byleahjohnson) June 13, 2022
I’ve purchased and read quite a few books, by the author *James Patterson*. The caucasity of this man to make such a statement. His white privilege is showing.
— J- 🌎✨ (@MajorFactor2) June 13, 2022
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