Lee Daniels Goes in on Hollywood Producers for Not Hiring Black Writers

Lee Daniels Goes in on Hollywood Producers for Not Hiring Black Writers

"That's repulsive!" the Empire creator said on the panel.

Published September 23, 2015

Lee Daniels is known for unapologetically laying out the truth as dry or blunt as it may be and that is just what the Empire creator did during a panel discussion conducted by the folks over at The Hollywood Reporter. During the panel, which consisted of other big-name Hollywood producers, Daniels shed light on the unfortunate lack of diversity behind-the-camera, criticizing each producer individually in the process.

"Nothing is more beautiful now than to go to the writers room of Empire," he started. "I don't know what gives me more pleasure: Watching my story unfold or going in and watching a room full of Black people talking for me... I hate white people writing for Black people. It's so offensive."

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When one of the panelists, all of whom are Caucasian, went to interrupt him, he quickly responded, "Yes, honey. It's all about reverse racism here."

He then followed-up, stating that for Empire specifically, he only seeks to employ Black writers. "Let me keep it 100 with you. We go out and we look specifically for African-American voices," he said.

The same producer then went on to explain that she hires an equal ratio of female to male writers to promote diversity, but when Daniels asked her how many of them were African-American, the numbers began to dwindle. "Are there African-American writers on your show?" he asked, to which she responded, "There's one of color, but he's not African-American."

He then proceeded to go around the table, asking the same question to each panelist, only to receive the same disappointing response.

"It's repulsive is what it is," he said. "And inexcusable is what it is and I'm really, really happy that, if anything — forget the success of Empire. That's great that we have that — what is important is that people of color know that they are wanted, 'cause y'all done told me that we ain't wanted."

Watch Daniels in action in the full clip below.

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Written by Moriba Cummings

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