Skip to main content

Deadline Formally Apologizes for That Totally Racist Article About TV Diversity

And, in doing so, misses the point entirely.


After Shonda Rhimes and, like, the entire internet called out that horrible Deadline article about the downsides of “Ethnic Casting,” the site’s editor has issued a formal apology which you may or may not find satisfying.

In this Sunday column, editor Mike Fleming Jr. first blames the “controversy” on an “unfortunate headline” from which “no article could ever recover.” He says,

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.


Fleming goes on to say that people were “rightfully incensed,” but that the real problem here was the inappropriate use of the word “ethnic” in the piece’s headline. Though (white dude) Peter Bart says to Fleming that he has “always nodded off at the word ‘diversity,'” Fleming does add that

That original headline does not reflect the collective sensibility here at Deadline. The only appropriate way to view racial diversity in casting is to see it as a wonderful thing, and to hope that Hollywood continues to make room for people of color. The missteps were dealt with internally; we will do our best to make sure that kind of insensitivity doesn’t surface again here. 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.

Which, you know, is great—except the headline was the least of that article’s problems. Sure, the headline was certainly insensitive, but so was the rest of the piece. It’s a shame that Deadline didn’t take this opportunity to examine what is troublesome about a mindset that plagues a disturbingly large number of Americans in regards to visible diversity in entertainment media. Instead, they focused their apology on a perceived slight, imagining that a majority of readers had a knee-jerk reaction to the article’s headline instead of the content of the piece.

We’re still not impressed, Deadline. You can do better.

(via Vulture, image via Disney ABC)

Are you following The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google +?

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Sam Maggs is a writer and televisioner, currently hailing from the Kingdom of the North (Toronto). Her first book, THE FANGIRL'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY will be out soon from Quirk Books. Sam’s parents saw Star Wars: A New Hope 24 times when it first came out, so none of this is really her fault.