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Author James Patterson apologizes for saying white male writers are victims of ‘racism’

The author made headlines for his recent comments to the Sunday Times.
Late Night with Seth Meyers - Season 8
Author James Patterson on a recent episode of "Late Night With Seth Meyers."Lloyd Bishop / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Prolific author James Patterson apologized on Tuesday after being criticized for comments he made about white male writers being the victims of "racism" to a British newspaper.

The Sunday Times, in a story published on Sunday, paraphrased Patterson as worrying "that it is hard for white men to get writing gigs in film, theatre, TV or publishing."

It went on to quote Patterson as saying the alleged problem is “just another form of racism. 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," Patterson told the outlet.

Tuesday afternoon, Patterson shared an apology on Twitter.

"I apologize for saying white male writers having trouble finding work is a form of racism. I absolutely do not believe that racism is practiced against white writers," he wrote. "Please know that I strongly support a diversity of voices being heard—in literature, in Hollywood, everywhere."

Patterson, who has penned and published more than 200 books since his first in 1976, has had several of his novels adapted for the screen. Morgan Freeman famously played one of his characters, Alex Cross, in the 1997 film "Kiss the Girls" and 2001's "Along Came a Spider." Tyler Perry later took over the role in the third installment of the series, in the 2012 film "Alex Cross."

Patterson's recent written collaboration with country superstar Dolly Parton, "Run Rose, Run," was just picked up by Sony Pictures in a "highly competitive bidding situation" for a film adaptation, according to Parton's website.

For context, UCLA’s “Hollywood Diversity Report 2022,” found that the percentage of writing credits by people of color in last year’s top 200 films had more than quadrupled since 2011, jumping from 7.6 to 32.3%.

"People of color nonetheless would have to increase their 2021 share by about 10 percentage points to reach proportionate representation in this employment arena (42.7%)," the report reads.

In the United States, non-White people make up about 40% of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In a 2020 analysis, the New York Times found that in a sample of 7,124 books published between 1950 and 2018, 95% were written by white people and in the year 2018, 89% were.