Author James Patterson triggered an avalanche of backlash after calling out “another form of racism” that is not politically correct.
Speaking with British newspaper the Times in a recent interview, Patterson — one of the best-selling authors of all time — lamented that white men experience difficulties acquiring writing jobs.
“[It’s] just another form of racism,” Patterson declared. “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.”
The comments were widely mocked. Many critics said the claim shows that Patterson is not connected to reality because the majority of authors and employees at publishing houses are white.
Others knocked Patterson for his widely known use of co-writers and ghostwriters, who help him churn out multiple books each year. And of course, Patterson was also accused of white privilege and racism.
“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,” author Alyssa Cole said.
“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,” author Leah Johnson said.
“James Patterson of all people. First of all, write your own books, pal,” author Roxane Gay said.
“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,” another person said.
“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,” another person said.
In 2020, the New York Times published data showing the vast majority of authors (89% in 2018, for example) are white. The study also showed the vast majority of editors who acquire and edit books are also white.
How did Patterson respond?
Patterson responded to the controversy on Tuesday by apologizing and rescinding his charge that white writers experience racism.
“I apologize for saying white male writers having trouble finding work is a form of racism,” Patterson tweeted. “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.”