James Patterson feels the heat after saying white men face 'another form of racism'

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A smiling older man wearing clear-rimmed glasses and a dark suit
James Patterson, seen in 2018, has sparked a backlash with his comments about fellow white male authors. (Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)

James Patterson has apparently seen what being marginalized is like, and it isn't for him. Or for the aging, white male writers he seems to be worried about.

Reflecting on his illustrious career following the release of his autobiography, the bestselling author expressed concern for white men, whom he thinks are now having difficulty finding work in the entertainment and publishing industries.

Patterson classified their struggle as "just another form of racism" in an interview published in the Sunday Times in the U.K. Not surprisingly, he's getting a lot of heat for saying so.

The quote came as the "Stories of My Life" author, whose writing success came in tandem with his thrillers about Black detective Alex Cross, was trying to express disappointment over film adaptations of his novels, saying that he'd for once like to "stand up and cheer for one of my books on the silver screen."

Big-screen adaptations of his more than 300 books include the Morgan Freeman-starring films "Kiss the Girls" (1997) and "Along Came a Spider" (2001). (Next up is an adaptation of "Run, Rose, Run," which he co-wrote with music legend Dolly Parton.)

“I just wanted to create a character who happened to be Black,” the 75-year-old 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.”

“I get it,” he continued. “How could we run through that period, especially in Hollywood, where there was all this talent and nobody got hired?”

From there, the writer of the Sunday Times piece said that Patterson is now worried about white men struggling to find work in film, theater, TV and publishing and thinks the problem is "just another form of racism."

"What’s that all about?” he mused. “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.”

Critics were quick to judge "The President Is Missing" co-author's remarks, taking to the replies of Patterson's most recent tweet to share their thoughts.

"So sorry to hear about the discrimination you and your $700 million face on a daily basis. We really should do more to help rich white multi millionaires get their voices heard. Can't imagine the struggles. Hang in there sir," one user wrote.

"I hope you really did not say this," added another.

"Great to see you overcome the stigma of being a white dude and get the gig to... *checks notes* write your autobiography. How many other writers were you up against?" said one tweet.

"You already know.... I'm not throwing away or burning my money (books [of] his I own) but I'm [definitely] removing them from my library And will never purchase them again. This man literally had 2 well known people of color play his main Character Alex cross then says this b.s. done," wrote another user.

Representatives for Patterson did not immediately respond Monday to The Times' request for comment.

Elsewhere in the interview, Patterson also said he disapproves of actors and public figures weighing in on topics they've gleaned off the internet, but said that he's "almost always on the side of free speech.”

He said that he "hated" that Little, Brown in 2020 pulled embattled director Woody Allen's memoir after the publishing company's staff staged a walkout.

"He has the right to tell his own story," Patterson argued.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.