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Best-selling novelist James Patterson has apologized after saying older white men experience "another form of racism" in publishing and Hollywood.
"I absolutely do not believe that racism is practiced against white writers," Patterson, 75, said in a tweet Tuesday. "Please know that I strongly support a diversity of voices being heard — in literature, in Hollywood, everywhere."
Patterson sparked a backlash when he lamented that it's difficult for older white male writers to find work in an interview with The Times published Sunday, claiming that it signaled a type of racism. The prolific thriller author mused, "What's that all about? 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."
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.
— James Patterson (@JP_Books) June 14, 2022
In the Times interview, Patterson also addressed his early success as a white author and how it was closely tied to a Black character, the fictional detective Alex Cross. (Patterson has published dozens of Alex Cross books, and Morgan Freeman portrayed the character in two film adaptions, 1997's Kiss the Girls and 2001's Along Came a Spider.)
"I just wanted to create a character who happened to be Black," Patterson said. "I would not have tried to write a serious saga about a Black family. It's different in a detective story because plot is so important."
Theo Wargo/Getty Images James Patterson
The author also told the Times he is "almost always on the side of free speech," voicing his disapproval of staff at his publisher, Little, Brown and Company, staging a walkout in protest of Woody Allen's memoir in 2020. "I hated that," Patterson said. "He has the right to tell his own story."