Novelist James Patterson says older white men experience 'another form of racism'

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James Patterson, a best-selling author with an estimated net worth of $800 million, opened up about how difficult it is for white men to find work in publishing and Hollywood.

The thriller novelist said white male writers experience "another form of racism" in an interview with The Times published Sunday, lamenting the plight of older white males. "What's that all about?" Patterson 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."

The comments come after the outlet observed that the white author's early success was founded in part on the character of a Black detective, the fictional Alex Cross, in his crime series about the cop and forensic psychologist. Morgan Freeman portrayed the detective in two film adaptations, 1997's Kiss the Girls and 2001's Along Came a Spider.

James Patterson
James Patterson

Robin Marchant/Getty Images James Patterson

"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." The author is "almost always on the side of free speech," he said, noting that he was appalled when staff at his publisher, Little, Brown and Company, staged a walkout in 2020 to protest the publication of Woody Allen's memoir.

Allen's adoptive daughter, Dylan Farrow, has accused him of child sexual abuse, allegations Allen denied. "I hated that," Patterson said of the Little, Brown protest. "He has the right to tell his own story."

EW has reached out to Patterson's rep for comment on the controversial interview.

Patterson recently released a new novel, Run, Rose, Run, co-authored with country star Dolly Parton, in March. The thriller debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times' best-seller list that month and will be adapted into a film starring and produced by Parton. The author's The 20th Victim, the latest installment to his Women's Murder Club series with Maxine Paetro, also spent a few weeks on the Times' best-seller following its 2020 debut.

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