Stephen King criticized for comments on diversity

NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen King says he cares only about “quality,” not “diversity” when deciding on awards. Some are asking why he thinks the two must be different.

“I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality,” King tweeted this week. “It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.”

The best-selling author’s comments came shortly after the announcement of this year’s nominees for the Academy Awards, widely criticized for only choosing male directors and for an almost entirely white group of acting finalists. King wrote that he had been allowed to nominate people for best picture, best screenplay and best original screenplay, and that for him “the diversity issue — as it applies to individual actors and directors, anyway — did not come up.”

King, many of whose books have been adapted into movies, did not say who he did nominate. A spokeswoman from Scribner, King’s publisher, said Wednesday that for now no further comment from him was expected.

Admirers of King, an outspoken liberal, were disheartened by his comments. Author Roxane Gay tweeted that “as a fan, this is painful to read.”

“It implies that diversity and quality cannot be synonymous,” Gay wrote. “They are not separate things. Quality is everywhere but most industries only believe in quality from one demographic. And now, here you are.”

Director Ava DuVernay tweeted: “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.”