Earlier this month, King, an Academy member, drew criticism for saying on Twitter that he “would never consider diversity” when voting for the Oscars. Many of his fans, as well as fellow Academy member Ava DuVernay, slammed the 72-year-old author for his comments.
In a Washington Post op-ed published Monday, titled, “The Oscars are still rigged in favor of white people,” King walked back his comments, admitting that he “stepped over one of those lines recently.”
“The subject was the Academy Awards. I also said, in essence, that those judging creative excellence should be blind to questions of race, gender or sexual orientation,” King said.
“I did not say that was the case today, because nothing could be further from the truth,” King added. “Nor did I say that films, novels, plays and music focusing on diversity and/or inequality cannot be works of creative genius. They can be, and often are. Ava DuVernay’s 2019 Netflix miniseries, ‘When They See Us,’ about the wrongful convictions of the Central Park Five, is a splendid case in point.”
The Misery author noted that while women make up 32 percent of Academy members and minorities are 16 percent of the total, he said it’s, “Not good enough. Not even within shouting distance of good enough.”
“We don’t live in that perfect world, and this year’s less-than-diverse Academy Awards nominations once more prove it,” King wrote at the end of the op-ed. “Maybe someday we will. I can dream, can’t I? After all, I make stuff up for a living.”
When you wake up, meditate, stretch, reach for your phone to check on the world and see a tweet from someone you admire that is so backward and ignorant you want to go back to bed. https://t.co/nPXOeAebkb— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 14, 2020
After garnering several nominations, including at Golden Globe and SAG Awards nods, Jennifer Lopez was shockingly left out of the Best Supporting Actress category for Hustlers. She would’ve been only the eighth Latin-American ever nominated in the category, with Rita Moreno in 1961 and Lupita Nyong’o in 2013 picking up the only wins.
Nyong’o, a Kenyan-Mexican actress born in Mexico, also missed out on a nomination for Best Actress for Us.
Erivo was the only black actor to pick up an acting nomination for Harriet. Other snubbed potential nominees included Eddie Murphy for Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name and Jamie Foxx for Just Mercy.
#OscarsSoWhite first began trending in 2015 after the Academy came under fire for failing to nominate any actors of color for the second year in a row. Well-known Hollywood black stars like Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith skipped the 88th annual awards in response.
The Academy has since made strides to diversify its voting body, inviting a record 683 new members the following year.
The 92nd Annual Academy Awards will air live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.