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

Over the weekend, the Sunday Times published an interview with James Patterson, who is 75 years old and white. Patterson is one of the most prolific writers in publishing and his books are always on the bestsellers lists. Patterson used that interview to lament the plight of the older white male writer and how hard it is out here for white dudes in general. He said that the lack of opportunities for white male writers 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 faced significant backlash online. I have no idea if he was aware of that or whether his publicist or publisher called him, but on Tuesday, Patterson apologized in a Facebook post:

“I apologize for saying white male writers having trouble finding work is a form of racism,” Mr. Patterson wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. “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.”

[From The NY Times]

Was this written for him by a publicist? Probably. Am I setting the bar too low if I note my appreciation for the fact that Patterson didn’t claim to be “misquoted” or, worse yet, double-down with an even more offensive statement? This was just a straight apology. Now, should we believe it? I don’t know.

Since Patterson made this apology on Facebook and Facebook is full of some of the worst, most emboldened racists in the world, Patterson’s replies are a whole mess. Patterson is being told in explicit terms that he shouldn’t apologize for saying something true, which is that there is a “bias against white men” and that Patterson is now some kind of “leftist” who was forced to make this apology.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.

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22 Responses to “James Patterson apologizes for saying white male writers are victims of racism”

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  1. ThatsNotOkay says:

    Social media is the devil. Nice that he apologized, but he meant it when he said it. Yesterday.

    • Sunshine says:

      Not sure how this is down to social media. He made these comment in the (British) Sunday Times. It was then exploited by the Daily Mail.

    • Bettyrose says:

      Yep. Giving this tool any leeway is setting the bar too low. His comments displayed an astonishing lack of empathy for anyone not exactly like him.

    • Another Anna says:

      This all day. Sorry about the consequences, not the content.

  2. Oh_Hey says:

    He’s not sorry. He’s just sorry the whole world cooked him over what he said. He was expecting huge applause and instead people pulled up recupera about who’s really writing his books and how white publishing and writers rooms are.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if a few notable women and POC who’ve worked for and with him (like Dolly and Morgan Freeman) didn’t call him up and give him the business for getting them even tangentially associated with this garbage.

  3. Doodle says:

    I’m an aspiring writer. One of the people in my left leaning writing group is a white guy who tried lamenting over how agents were seeking writers of color and as a white cis guy it would be harder for him – I shut that right down. I told him that if he wrote a good book no agent that was marketable then no agent proficient in that genre would turn it down. He shut up. James Patterson and others with this mindset need to stfu.

    • Bettyrose says:

      I’m so sick of this mentality that if anyone else has even a sliver of opportunity than the historically privileged are now oppressed. That thinking helped get 45 elected and this nation will be negatively impacted by that travesty for decades.

  4. Turtledove says:

    I mean, can you really apologize for beig a total idiot? I suppose it’s a nice gesture- that he probably didn’t make on his own terms- so nice, but insincere. But really a more truthful thing to say would have been “I am sorry that I, a white, recently-middle aged male who has made 800 million via my books, had the the abysmally stupid nerve to say that things are hard for while middle aged writers.”

    The whole thing was ludicrous!

  5. AnnaKist says:

    I am so fed up with all these well-known people who make stupid, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, idiotic, rude, defamatory statements in public. They then come out the next day, full of apologies, which mostly sound hollow. I wish they would just shut up, for their own sake as well as ours.

  6. Lucy says:

    And now you can go be quiet with your nearly $1 billion dollars of unearned wealth, James.

    • molly says:

      Exactly. Just be rich and STFU! Take your mountain of money and go do something fun!

      • phlyfiremama says:

        I’m just surprised he didn’t try to blame his ghostwriters. 😂 Such a fake apology, only because he got called out on his casual racism. Yuck. Can we please please please just smash the patriarchy (in whatever form it presents itself: religious, ethnic, etç.) into trillions of tiny pieces already??

  7. BB says:

    He said what he said. Believe him.

  8. Joanna says:

    Equality is not oppression. Non white people getting the same opportunities he got as a white male is not oppression. These white males are saying they are mad they’re losing their advantages they got from being a white male.

    • JRenee says:

      This!!! And it scares the hell out of a lot of them. I have never researched anything about him but I’ve read a ton of his books. Racism is steeped in power. By being diverse and leveling the playing field can’t be seriously viewed as racist. The apology is bullshit

  9. etso says:

    F!@# off, geezer.

  10. Valerie says:

    LMAO, that was fast. He says he doesn’t believe it, but that is exactly what he said. Does he think that everyone is as dense as he is?

  11. Thoughts says:

    Many of the comments in his interview were problematic, including stuff about pedophiles and accused rapists. So I don’t buy the apology. He knew what he was saying and meant it. He showed his true colors and was dragged for it.

  12. Bisynaptic says:

    Bless his heart.

  13. Yonati says:

    People who don’t mean to say things like that don’t say things like that.