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‘The Outsider’ Actress Cynthia Erivo Responds To Stephen King’s Controversial Comments About Diversity

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Yesterday, some tweets from horror author (and executive producer on about two dozen TV shows and films that are in development based on his stories) Stephen King went viral after the writer decided to use the platform to explain why he didn’t feel that diversity should be a consideration in the selection of awards. As you might expect, this stance caused a bit of controversy.

Today, during a TCA panel (via Deadline), Oscar-nominated actress Cynthia Erivo, who stars in the new HBO series “The Outsider” (based on King’s novel of the same name), responded to the comments. Clearly, she didn’t necessarily agree with them.

For those unaware, here’s what King tweeted about his thoughts on the lack of diversity in the recent Oscar nominations:

“As a writer, I am allowed to nominate in just 3 categories: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay,” King tweeted. “For me, the diversity issue–as it applies to individual actors and directors, anyway–did not come up. That said, I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.”

He added, “The most important thing we can do as artists and creative people is make sure everyone has the same fair shot, regardless of sex, color, 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.”

While there will, no doubt, be some people that think King is speaking the truth and should be applauded, many more disagree with his stance. Once glance at Twitter seems to indicate as much. When confronted with the comments at the panel, Erivo was reserved with her answer.

The actress commented that it’s up to people who make decisions during awards season (such as King) to “open their eyes and open doors” to diverse voices. Her comments seem to echo a general feeling from many during this awards season that films from female directors and people of color were ignored by a large portion of the voting contingent. And thus, that’s the reason why there wasn’t a ton of diversity in the Oscar noms this year. The voters just didn’t give those projects a chance.

“It’s up to people used to doing things a certain way to shake things up and do things to make sure the room reflects the world we live in,” added the actress. “If I can help, I will.”

Obviously, the discussion over diversity at the Oscars (and other awards shows) is not even close to over.

“The Outsider” is now airing on HBO.

As a writer, I am allowed to nominate in just 3 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. That said…

— Stephen King (@StephenKing)

…I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing)

The most important thing we can do as artists and creative people is make sure everyone has the same fair shot, regardless of sex, color, or orientation. Right now such people are badly under-represented, and not only in the arts.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing)

You can’t win awards if you’re shut out of the game.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing)

This content was originally published here.

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