Best-selling American author James Patterson has apologized for saying white writers struggling to find work is a form of racism.
The 75-year-old took to social media to post an apology after his comments appeared in The Sunday Times.
Patterson is known for his thrillers, romance novels and non-fiction.
He currently has two books on the New York Times Bestseller list for hardcover fiction, including the 22nd book in his Women’s Murder Club series with co-writer Maxine Paetro.
Forbes listed him as “America’s Highest-Paid Author” of 2020, having sold nearly five million books in the United States between June 2019 and 2020.
In the article, he worries that it is difficult for white men to find writing jobs in publishing, film, television and theater.
He is quoted as saying it’s “just another form of racism”, adding: “Can you get a job? Yes. Is it more difficult? Yes. It’s even harder for older writers. white men.”
But following criticism, Patterson issued an apology and said he was “strongly” supportive of diversity.
He wrote, “I absolutely do not believe that racism is practiced against white writers. Please know that I strongly support a diversity of voices being heard – in literature, in Hollywood, everywhere.”
Author Kellye Garrett criticized Patterson’s comments in the article, writing on social media: “Tell me you’ve never REALLY experienced racism and sexism without telling me you’ve never experienced racism and sexism.”
American writer Rebecca Carroll wrote: “Imagine being born the year Jackie Robinson was the first black MLB player in history, and then growing up to be one of America’s richest writers talking about the struggles for white men “is another form of racism” – James Patterson GTFO.
Author Keith Boykin pointed out on Twitter that “as late as 2020 the heads of all the Big Five publishing houses were white.”
Patterson’s most popular work is The Women’s Murder Club series and her Alex Cross series, which follows a black detective who deals with threats against her family and the city of Washington DC.
Her new thriller Run Rose Run is also on the bestseller list – written with Dolly Parton, which is being adapted for the big screen – with the country singer due star.
He also collaborated with former US President Bill Clinton on two political thrillers.
He recently wrote his first memoir, titled James Patterson by James Patterson.