On Tuesday, James Patterson apologized for claiming in an interview that older white men face “racism” in the writing field.
“I apologize for saying white male writers having trouble finding 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,” he wrote in a statement on Facebook.
Patterson, whose books from science fiction to fantasy, thrillers, children’s books, and more have sold hundreds of millions of copies, came under fire after commenting to The Sunday Times that in his view, older, white men were having trouble finding writing jobs, which he called “just another form of racism.”
“What’s that all about?” Patterson said. “Can you get a job? Yes. Is it harder? Yes. It’s even harder for older writers. You don’t meet many 52-year-old white males.”
The interview was published online over the weekend and soon drew widespread criticism. A number of writers and public figures spoke out against Patterson’s remarks, calling them insensitive as well as inaccurate—studies consistently show that writers of color remain underrepresented in publishing, as well as other creative fields, and many of those who criticized his comments pointed to their own experiences facing discrimination or microaggressions in the literary world.