It’s been a week since Deadline, a formerly respected trade news site, published a piece called “Pilots 2015: The Year Of Ethnic Castings — About Time Or Too Much Of Good Thing?” The backlash was fast and fierce, with many calling the piece stupid, racist, and trolling. As Hollywood reacted with an array of hilarious and on point tweets, we kept waiting for Deadline to respond. But for days all the site did was retweet criticisms, like Shonda Rhimes’s:
1st Reaction:: HELL NO. Lemme take off my earrings, somebody hold my purse! 2nd Reaction: Article is so ignorant I can't even be bothered.— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) March 25, 2015
Oh. And they changed the title to “Pilots 2015: The Year Of Ethnic Castings,” as if that was even the article’s greatest issue.
Well, on Sunday, Mike Fleming Jr. who memorably lamented that an all-female Ghostbusters would hurt his delicate sensibilities, took to his column to finally issue the closest thing to an apology Deadline is likely to give. Here he goes:
“Deadline ran an article last week that generated controversy and hurt feelings. An unfortunate headline-Pilots 2015: The Year of Ethnic Castings - About Time or Too Much of Good Thing?—created a context from which no article could recover. My co-editor-in-chief Nellie Andreeva’s goal was to convey that there was such an uptick of TV pilot casting of people of color that it pinched white actors who’ve historically gotten most of the jobs, and to question if this could last if it was being treated as a fad. All this was undermined by that headline (which we changed after the fact) and a repetition of the word “ethnic” that came off cold and insensitive…the word “ethnic” is commonly used by casting agents. None of that works when talking about people, and race. Our writers, and editors, can be so focused on the trees they sometimes forget to look at the forest, or in this case, the readers who are much more than statistics.”
Fleming goes on to assure the Deadline staff is all for diversity, apparently even when their own content suggests otherwise. Then offers:
“As co-editors in chief, Nellie and I apologize deeply and sincerely to those who’ve been hurt by this. There is no excuse. It is important to us that Deadline readers know we understand why you felt betrayed, and that our hearts are heavy with regret. We will move forward determined to do better.”