Prolific author James Patterson under fire for saying white men are victims of racism

Author James Patterson speaks on stage during a discussion of his new book co-written with the 42nd US President Bill Clinton.
Author James Patterson speaks on stage during a discussion of his new book co-written with the 42nd US President Bill Clinton. Photo credit: Getty Images

One of the world's best-selling authors James Patterson is under fire for saying white male writers are a victim of racism. 

In an interview with The Times on Sunday, Patterson said he is worried it is harder now for white men to get into writing gigs, stating the problem is "just another form of racism."

"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 told the outlet.

Patterson has a staple of best-seller lists including the Alex Cross, Michael Bennett and Women's Murder Club series among many others. He has sold over 400 million copies worldwide and according to Forbes, he is the United States' highest-paid author.  

His remarks caused immediate backlash from writers and social media users, who noted that the publishing world remains overly white.

In a company survey released in 2020 by Patterson's publisher Hachette Book Group, it found its US based workforce was 69 percent white and at senior management level 80 percent of executives were white. 

Just four percent of employees were Black.

"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," Writer Leah Johson tweeted. 

"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," Screenwriter and writing Professor Brian McAuley said.

"So. Ugly truth time. James Patterson is horribly, horribly wrong. Older white male author here. Publishing is hard. But almost everything is slanted more in your favor if you're white and male. Everything," writer Dean Gloster said. 

Patterson has since walked back on his comments, taking to Twitter on Tuesday to apologise. 

"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."

However many are questioning the sincerity of his apology, calling it a 'PR move'.

"Wonder who wrote this tweet for him," one person replied.

"But you flat out said it," another said.

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