The past few years has seen Hollywood grapple with a diversity problem that they can no longer ignore. #OscarsSoWhite has been a big part of the the campaign that has not only raised awareness about the issue, but also been part of forcing the Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences to diversify their membership. The topic has been a regular part of movie culture discourse, whether it’s discussing the lack of opportunities being afforded female directors or the casting “Iron Fist.” However, it seems this entire subject has gone right over the head of “The West Wing,” “The Newsroom,” and “The Social Network” screenwriter Aaron Sorkin.
At this weekend’s Writers Guild Festival, the usually politically plugged in Sorkin seemed completely taken aback when the subject of diversity in writers’ rooms came up.
“Are you saying that women and minorities have a more difficult time getting their stuff read than white men and you’re also saying that [white men] get to make mediocre movies and can continue on?” he asked, in all seriousness.
“You’re saying that if you are a woman or a person of color, you have to hit it out of the park in order to get another chance?” he also pondered.
If you’re wondering why the diversity problem continues to persist in Hollywood, Sorkin’s comments and genuine surprise are probably indicative of how many in the industry continue to perceive the problem (meaning, they don’t really see it at all). For someone who wears his liberal politics pretty openly, it’s a bit shocking that Sorkin is oblivious to this degree about the topic. However, he does at least seem eager to do his part to affect change.
“What can I do [to help]?” he asked. “I do want to understand what someone like me can do … but my thing has always been: ‘If you write it, they will come.’ “
Well, just being open to knowing there’s a problem is a good start, and if anything, this continues the dialogue around diversity in Hollywood. [Variety]