Update, Tuesday, June 14 at 6:28 p.m.: James Patterson has walked back his widely criticized comments to The Sunday Times about older white men who wanted to be writers facing “another form of racism.” According to Patterson, he doesn’t actually believe what he said. “I apologize for saying white male writers having trouble finding work is a form of racism,” Patterson wrote in a June 14 Facebook post. “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.”
Original story published Tuesday, June 14 follows.
So often, it seems that a celebrity controversy could be entirely preventable if the celebrity in question simply chose not to speak. But perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that a man with more than 300 books to his name isn’t one to hold back. In a recent interview with The Sunday Times, James Patterson decided that the world needed to hear his thoughts on racism and Woody Allen’s memoir. According to Patterson, whose extensive works have prompted several libraries to joke that he has “written everything,” older white men now face “another form of racism” when they try to make it as writers in the entertainment industry. “Can you get a job? Yes. Is it harder? Yes,” Patterson said. “It’s even harder for older writers. You don’t meet many 52-year-old white males.” The prolific co-writer also took issue with his own publisher, Hachette Book Group, noting that he “hated” the decision to drop Woody Allen’s memoir, Apropos of Nothing, back in 2020. The move came after Hachette employees walked out because of the long-standing sexual-abuse allegations against Allen. “He has the right to tell his own story,” Patterson said, adding, “I’m almost always on the side of free speech.” (Allen’s memoir later found a new home with Arcade Publishing.) Meanwhile, Patterson’s comments come as he is promoting his own memoir, James Patterson: The Stories of My Life, because of course they do. After all, before he was a writer, Patterson had a successful career in… you guessed it, advertising.