Posted on January 16, 2020

Cynthia Erivo Talks Diversity After Stephen King’s Controversial Oscars Take

Kelly McCarthy, USA Today, January 16, 2020

Cynthia Erivo is speaking out about diversity.

At the Television Critics Association meeting in Los Angeles Wednesday, the “Harriet” star was asked about Stephen King‘s controversial comments about considering “quality” not “diversity” for the 2020 Academy Awards nominations. (Erivo was promoting HBO’s “The Outsider,” a new series she stars in adapted from King’s novel.)

“I feel like this year we had a flurry of beautiful pieces by people who are of a diverse nature – black women, women in general,” said Erivo, the lone Oscar nominee of color across 20 acting categories.

Erivo’s comments come on the heels of King’s tweets about the Oscars’ lack of diversity after the nomination of men as all five directing nominees and white actors in nearly all the acting categories.

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

According to King, diversity “did not come up” for him when he considered whom to nominate.

“As a writer, I am allowed to nominate in just 3 categories: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay,” he wrote. “For me, the diversity issue–as it applies to individual actors and directors, anyway–did not come up.”

A few hours later, King appeared to walk back his comments.

“The most important thing we can do as artists and creative people is make sure everyone has the same fair shot, regardless of sex, color, or orientation,” he wrote. “Right now such people are badly under-represented, and not only in the arts.”