It’s really hard to hide from the diversity issue that’s plaguing Hollywood, unless apparently you’re Aaron Sorkin.
The Oscar-winning screenwriter and creator of TV shows like “The West Wing” and “The Newsroom” sounded legitimately shocked when the topic came up while he was onstage at the Writers Guild Festival on Saturday, according to a Variety report of the event.
While Sorkin looked back on his career and talked about issues of the day with moderator Elvis Mitchell, the topic moved to the need for more diversity in writers’ rooms for TV shows. It seemed like Sorkin had genuinely never realized it was an issue in the industry.
“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 the audience, Variety reported.
While conversation shifted to other topics, Sorkin still couldn’t let go of this new insight.
“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?” Sorkin reportedly said.
A lot of recent research had shed light on the inequality in Hollywood productions. One study found 22% of TV creators were female, and only 3.4% of movie directors were female. It also found that only 7 percent of films had a cast whose balance of race and ethnicity reflected the country’s diversity.
After listing women and minorities like Lena Dunham, Ava DuVernay, and Jordan Peele who have recently found success, Sorkin then offered to help:
“What can I do [to help]?” he said. “I do want to understand what someone like me can do… but my thing has always been: ‘If you write it, they will come.'”
Needless to say, Twitter has hammered Sorkin pretty hard for his lack of awareness:
“He didn’t miss it. He was just dismissing it before and he’ll go back to dismissing it again because it doesn’t affect his life.”
— Molly Lambert (@mollylambert) March 26, 2017
Can’t wait for POC & trans actors to play Aaron Sorkin characters & prove we’re not so different: we ALL reference ’30s screwball comedies.
— Paul F. Tompkins (@PFTompkins) March 27, 2017
Aaron Sorkin: Wait, it’s harder to be a minority in Hollywood? Educate me.
*every audience hand goes up*#WGFestival
— Coreena Boothroyd (@caboothroyd) March 25, 2017