Novelist James Patterson isn’t just the world’s best-selling author, he has two new books on the New York Times fiction bestseller lists this week, including one written with superstar Dolly Parton. He also published a memoir this month.
But eclipsing Patterson’s latest books is a flippant comment that put him in the crosshairs of cancel culture over the weekend. In a interview With The (UK) Sunday Times, Patterson said older white men face “another form of racism” because they find it harder to find work, especially in creative fields.
“Can you find a job? Yes. Is it more difficult? Yes. It’s even harder for older writers. You don’t meet a lot of 52-year-old white men,” he said.
The remarks drew anger and mockery on Twitter, where people in the publishing industry listed the richest and most accomplished authors dead and alive, noting that most of them are (or were) white men. A person tweeted that the comment was “The New York Times book’s critical version of the white replacement conspiracy theory.”
Patterson, who is 75 and white, has an estimated net worth of $800 million, although he grew up in a blue-collar family and said he considers himself “kind of a class storyteller. factory Girl”.
The novelist apologized on Twitter on Tuesday, saying he “absolutely” didn’t believe what he appeared to be saying.
I apologize for saying that white male writers struggling to find work is a form of racism. 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.
—James Patterson (@JP_Books) June 14, 2022
But it’s not just that remark that raised eyebrows. Patterson also said in the interview that he was appalled that publishing people protested filmmaker Woody Allen’s memoir, which led to the book’s cancellation. “I’m almost always on the side of free speech,” Patterson said.
It was hard to find someone to defend Patterson on Tuesday, although he’s not the only one to make such a point in recent weeks. British actor Christopher Eccleston, best known for playing ‘Dr. Who’ on the BBC series, recently said: “I’m white, in my 50s, male and straight. We’re the new pariah of the industry”, The Telegraph reported.
But Eccleston’s tone was much different, and the 58-year-old seemed to be okay with being a “dinosaur” to make room for other actors.
“We (white men) are all seen through the lens of Harvey Weinstein et al. And I can feel the opportunities diminishing, as they should,” Eccleston said.
Cancel culture is the term that encompasses the widespread shaming and attempt to demonetize or deplatform people with unpopular views. A new Pew Research Center report says 61% of American adults are aware of the term, and awareness has increased the most among older adults.
Eccleston, however, is not completely unemployed; he’s in a new BBC drama called ‘My Name Is Leon’.
And like “Harry Potter” creator JK Rowling, who has come under fire for her remarks about transgender issues, Patterson may be too big a star to write off.
He told The Times that he was “plotting a new project” on the CIA with his friend and former co-author Bill Clinton. And Parton tweeted a photo of her with Patterson on June 7, calling her one of her favorite people and saying she was thrilled to have their joint book, “Run, Rose, Run,” made into a movie.