By Sharanya Gopinathan
Aaron Sorkin, award-winning screenwriter and the producer of shows like Newsroom and The West Wing, is also clearly the reigning King of Clueless.
On Saturday, he attended the Writers Guild Festival in Hollywood, and it seems he was generally having a hard time understanding what words like privilege and discrimination meant, or believing that diversity was still an issue in Hollywood.
I can’t tell if Variety’s report was supposed to be sarcastic or not, but it said that he was “in disbelief” over Hollywood’s diversity problem. He asserted that Hollywood was a meritocracy when the panel was discussed diversity, and was told that wasn’t true. According to Variety, who also noted that he was “genuinely troubled by his lack of awareness”, he was so shocked by the revelation that he returned to the topic well after the discussion had moved on, saying (I can only imagine plaintively), “You’re saying that if you are a woman or a person of colour, you have to hit it out of the park in order to get another chance?”
Um, to put it succinctly: Yes. This is the kind of discrimination all minorities know they face, and that people in power seem to be blissfully, powerfully, constantly unaware of. The 2017 Hollywood Diversity Report lays out that people of colour are under-represented in almost every field in Hollywood, that they lost ground compared to the previous year in 11 areas, and merely stayed the same in two others. Hollywood faces problems not just in representation, but also equal pay. It’s basically a little microcosm that contains every diversity issue in the world, and it’s takes some spectacular wilful ignorance not to notice it, and to be so shocked when someone tells you Hollywood has problems.
Sorkin also asked what he can do to help, to which I feel like saying a good first step would be to open your damn eyes for a second and take a look around you.
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