Stephen King slammed over comments about Oscars diversity

King said he would only consider quality when nominating films.
King said he would only consider quality when nominating films. Photo credit: Getty.

Horror legend Stephen King is being criticised for saying he would never consider diversity in matters of art. 

His comments came after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was slammed for a having no women in the list of 2020 Best Director nominees, overlooking females like Lulu Wang and Greta Gerwig.

American actress Issa Rae has also made headlines for remarking on the all-male list of directors.

"Congratulations to all those men," she said, after reading out the nominees.

And while Bong Joon-Ho landed a nomination for his film Parasite, the Academy was also criticised for having Harriet star Cynthia Erivo be the only person of colour to appear in any acting categories.

But King, author of books including The Shining and It, spoke out about the diversity controversy. 

"As a writer, I am allowed to nominate in just three categories: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay. 

"For me, the diversity issue as it applies to individual actors and directors anyway did not come up," King posted on Twitter. 

He went on to say he would only consider quality when nominating films. 

"It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong."

Many who read his post instantly hit back at his comments. 

"To imply quality and diversity are mutually exclusive tells us quite loudly how threatened you are by the potential of a level artistic playing field in which said 'diverse' stories are exponentially more compelling, vast, resonant and poignant than your own," said one person on Twitter. 

"Good to know it's just white men who produce quality in those categories," said another.

One Twitter user said there should be diversity in writing as well. 

"The problem is that POC (people of colour) and women can't even get in the room to talk about their script being turned into a movie as they aren't invited to participate as often as white men."

King responded to the backlash, stating the most important thing artists and creative people can do is to make sure everyone has the same fair shot, regardless of sex, colour, or orientation.

"Right now such people are badly under-represented, and not only in the arts.

"You can't win awards if you're shut out of the game, he added.