Yesterday Deadline drew widespread criticism for an article on television's increasing diversity. Instead of praising a long overdue shift, TV editor Nellie Andreeva argued there might be too much "ethnic casting" now.
"But, as is the case with any sea change, the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction. Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal. Many pilot characters this year were listed as open to all ethnicities, but when reps would call to inquire about an actor submission, they frequently have been told that only non-Caucasian actors would be considered. 'Basically 50% of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic, and the mandate goes all the way down to guest parts,' one talent representative said."
After running down the many recent roles to go to non-white actors, Andreeva made a counterpoint that's actually the most important point in the discussion on race and TV (or all of Hollywood, for that matter): "The TV and film superhero ranks have been overly white for too long, workplace shows should be diverse to reflect workplace in real America, and ethnic actors should get a chance to play more than the proverbial best friend or boss." But instead of stopping there she continued to make basically the same argument people have made against affirmative action.
Deadline became a trending topic on Twitter for several hours because of the article, and Shonda Rhimes joined the voices speaking out against it last night.
1st Reaction:: HELL NO. Lemme take off my earrings, somebody hold my purse! 2nd Reaction: Article is so ignorant I can't even be bothered.— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) March 25, 2015
Selma director Ava DuVernay retweeted Rhimes, adding, "Preach."