In the midst of awards season when everyone is receiving compliments from their peers, and being on their best behavior, Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Shonda Rhimes decided to use her win at the Director’s Guild Awards to take a moment and address the ongoing problem in Hollywood.
While most are concerned about who will take home the gold statue at the Academy Awards, and who sold what films to which distributing house, the Grey’s Anatomy showrunner spoke about the elephant in the room, and quite possibly the larger issue in Hollywood, which is the racist factor in the industry.
Rhimes has never been someone who was okay with white washing her casts. Since she broke out on to the scene with her hit ABC show Grey’s Anatomy, and later on Private Practice, and Scandal, she has never once caved in to the system of only employing white actors. Because of this Rhimes was honored with The Diversity Award at the Director’s Guild Awards. During her acceptance speech the successful writer, producer, and creator certainly didn’t mince her words.
“We’re a little pissed off because there still needs to be an award. Like, there’s such a lack of people hiring women and minorities that when someone does it on a regular basis, they are given an award.”
Rhimes continued with pointing out just how racist and sexist Hollywood can be due to the lack of accessibility minorities have to working with great visionaries. Echoing the disappointing 2013 report on women in film, Rhimes said:
“It’s not because of a lack of talent. It’s because of a lack of access. People hire who they know. If it’s been a white boys club for 70 years, that’s a lot of white boys hiring one another. And I don’t believe that that happens out of any specific racism or sexism or prejudice. People hire their friends. They hire who they know. It’s comfortable. You want to be successful, you don’t want to take any chances, you don’t want to rock the boat by hiring people of color because, well, look at us.”
This isn’t the only time Shonda Rhimes has spoke openly about the lack of diversity in the industry. In an interview with Salon, Rhimes seemed completely baffled that it’s still a big deal and something to be “proud” of.
“I think it’s sad, and weird, and strange that it’s still a thing, nine years after we did “Grey’s,” that it’s still a thing. It’s creepy to me that it’s still an issue, that there aren’t enough people of color on television. Why is that still happening? It’s 2013. Somebody else needs to get their act together. And oh, by the way it works. Ratings-wise, it works. People like to see it. I don’t understand why people don’t understand that the world of TV should look like the world outside of TV.”
Hopefully the industry will allow more people like Shonda Rhimes to continue to create well-balanced shows.