For many people, an author who is worth an estimated $800 million and has seen nearly a dozen of his original works made into big-budget films might be the definition of “success.” But James Patterson, the thriller novelist who checks all of the aforementioned boxes, seems to feel that his older white male peers don’t have the same chances in Hollywood as others these days because of ... racism?
In a new interview with the U.K’s The Times, as reported by Entertainment Weekly, Patterson described “another form of racism” he thinks older white men in his line of work face—racism that appears in the form of their difficulty securing a job in Hollywood and the publishing industry.
“What’s that all about?” he said. “Can you get a job? Yes. Is it harder? Yes. It’s even harder for older writers. You don’t meet many 52-year-old white males.”
The author found himself on the topic after the Times noted that much of Patterson’s initial success stemmed from his popular character Alex Cross, a Black detective and forensic psychologist who has been portrayed onscreen by Morgan Freeman and Tyler Perry.
“I just wanted to create a character who happened to be Black,” Patterson said. “I would not have tried to write a serious saga about a Black family. It’s different in a detective story because plot is so important.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Patterson describes himself as someone who is “almost always on the side of free speech.” Then, he actually cites the time staffers at his publisher Little, Brown and Company staged a walkout in 2020 in protest of the release of Woody Allen’s memoir. Allen’s adopted daughter Dylan Farrow has long accused the director of sexual abuse.
“I hated that,” Patterson said of the walkout. “[Allen] has the right to tell his own story.”
Patterson finds himself back in the interview circuit (and with just so much to say) after the release of his novel Run, Rose, Run. Patterson co-wrote the thriller with Dolly Parton, and the duo’s work will soon receive a film adaptation with the help of Reese Witherspoon.